Black Elk Speaks and His People's Dream

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“And so it was all over. I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.” (218) These were the words that Black Elk spoke of the dream that he and his people had of a country where they were allowed to live free and happy as they had before the white men invaded their territory. The Indians that Black Elk encountered in his lifetime all had only a simple dream to be able to live as they pleased. They wanted to enjoy the land that had been theirs as long as they or their relatives could remember. They wanted to be able to go on living their lives of hunting, dancing, and just existing. But when the white man came into the picture, their dream was disrupted. White man’s covetousness of the gold of the Black Hills was enough for them to threaten to forcibly remove the Indians from that land. And in doing so, the Indians lost their beloved land. The Native Americans wanted to be able to go on living as they had for their entire existence. For instance, the Indians killed buffalo and other prey animals only when they needed food or supplies. And unlike the white men, who hunted for sport or only for a single part of the animal, they used every single part of the animal for something important. In doing this, the Indians kept the population of buffalo alive. On the contrary, when the white men invaded the Indians’ territory, they killed off almost all the buffalo, making the Indians virtually starve to death. The Indians dream consisted of the land and themselves thriving as they had in the past. They wanted to be able to live and hunt as they had for years. They wanted to keep the land that they had possessed (even thought...
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