Black Elk the Native American Healer

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Black Elk was not only a Native American medicine man and healer, but he was also largely responsible for the great American religious revival and an inspirational American author. Black Elk was born in 1863 on the Little Powder River, in what is now Wyoming. Black Elk would become a warrior, as well as a medicine man or for the Oglala Lakota tribe just like his father. At the age of nine, Black Elk was suddenly taken ill and in a catatonic state for several days. During this time he had experienced a spiritual vision in which he was visited by the Thunder Beings or (Wakinyan), and taken to the Grandfathers (spiritual representatives of the six sacred directions: west, east, north, south, above, and below). The Sioux culture believed these spirits to be kind,loving, full of years and wisdom, like grandfathers. Black Elk believed he had learned many things in his vision to help heal his people. He had come from a line long of medicine men and healers; His father was a medicine man as were his paternal uncles. In 1874, gold was discovered in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory(revered by the Sioux as Paha Sapa). Prospectors hoping to strike it rich flooded the region, ignoring earlier treaties made with the Native Americans. The United States government offered to purchase the Black Hills territory from the Sioux but they refused. Forces led by General George Crook marched into the region in the spring of 1876 attempting to take the land by force. In late June Native American War Chief Crazy Horse (Black Elks second cousin) and Black Elk defeated General George Custer along the banks of the Little Big Horn River. This only increased government military pressure on the Sioux to surrender their homelands and succumb to the changing times. Black Elk really had no formal education being a part of the Oglala Lakota tribe it wasn’t very necessary for their culture. However when Black Elk was nineteen he had a very important decision to make; would it be best to...
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