Black Elk Speaks is a novel based on the memories of Black Elk that he shared with a poet John Neihardt. Black Elk was an Oglala Sioux religious leader that had become a medicine man when he had had a vision in his teen age. Black Elk had already catholicized when he met Neihardt and was a catechist in reservations. He told Neihardt the story of his life so that it got eternalized and the future generations had the possibility to get to know the history of the Sioux.
The novel gives us a good idea about the traditions, beliefs and way of life of the Lakota Indians as well as about the hardships that occurred for them when they had to defend their lands from the Wasichus as they called the white men. And what is more, the story describes in details the fights between Lakota and Wasichus for the land. The reason the white men wanted to occupy the Lakota lands was that they had found gold there. The Indians called gold the yellow metal and considered it inapplicable for anything. According to the novel there was the archenemy of the Lakotas whom they called Pahuska. Actually, his name was George Armstrong Custer. He and his army fought the Lakota Indians and were defeated by them after devastating battles.
Black Elk remembers himself being a boy and remembers how he started having visions. At the very beginning they were queer and he couldn't understand them. But as he tells in his memories, many of his tribesmen had visions about various things and their visions helped them realize the reality, cure other people and even made them strong and invulnerable in the battle. For example, his cousin and the Lakota chief Crazy Horse got the vision and received the power and as a result he became a
chief. He got the name of Crazy Horse because in his vision his horse was dancing in a weird way. His ability was to inspire people that were going to fight and also to be invincible in the battles. He had never been hurt in any battle.
The hard times... [continues]
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