Black Elk

From Academic Kids

Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) (c. December 1863August 17 or August 19, 1950 (sources differ)) was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He participated at about the age of twelve in the Battle of Little Big Horn of 1876, and was wounded in the massacre that occurred at Wounded Knee in 1890.

Black Elk married his first wife Katie War Bonnett in 1892. She became a Catholic, and all three of their children were baptized as Catholic. After her death in 1903 he too became baptized, taking the name Nicholas Black Elk, and continued to serve as a spiritual leader among his people, seeing no contradiction in embracing what he found valid in both his tribal traditions concerning Wakan Tanka, and those of Christianity. He remarried in 1905 to Anna Brings White who was a widow, with two daughters, and who bore him three more children, and remained his wife until she died in 1941.

Towards the end of his life he revealed the story of his life, and a number of sacred Sioux rituals to John Neihardt and Joseph Epes Brown for publication, and his accounts have won wide interest and acclaim.

Books

  • Black Elk Speaks: being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux (1932) ( as told to John Neihardt.)
  • The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (1953) (as told to Joseph Epes Brown)
  • The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt (1984)

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