By Michael F. Steltenkamp
This biography of Black Elk is predicated on large interviews with Lucy appears to be like two times, the holy man’s final surviving baby, in addition to others who knew him in my opinion. Michael F. Steltenkamp sheds new mild at the determine portrayed in Black Elk Speaks as a sufferer of Western subjugation, doomed to dwell out his lifestyles as a relic of the earlier. as an alternative, Steltenkamp finds that during 1904 Black Elk was once baptized a Catholic and hence served as a faithful catechist and missionary to his fellow American Indians till his dying in 1950.
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Extra info for Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala
What Fools Crow did not know was that Black Elk was perhaps the best known of all American Indians. Black Elk's life and thought were first brought to the public forum in 1932 through the poetic craftsmanship of John Neihardt. 2 After this initial introduction, Joseph Epes Brown transmitted the holy man's knowledge of Lakota religious tradition in a work entitled The Sacred Pipe (1953). The numerous reprints of both books (in America and Europe) attest to the appeal of what Black Elk had to say.
In it, we are lifted into the last century and are matter-of-factly introduced to Black Elk's family as it existed when Plains culture was at its zenith. Ironically, those were years of warfare, which, in varying degrees, was a leitmotif of Plains existence from the beginning. As her father had done with Neihardt, so does Lucy refer to Black Elk's father. Dying in 1889, he was placed on a scaffold, which was a customary burial procedure. Included within her family's genealogy was Crazy Horse (Tasunke Witko).
Researchers have followed their lead and now employ the term "Lakota" when referring to these people. In ages past, they referred to themselves as oyate ikce ankantu (literally "people native superior"), and diverse groups that composed the nation "considered one another kin" (taku kiciyapi), while regarding others as "inferior" (ihukuya) (Walker 1982:3). At first glance, such designations seem to imply a heightened degree of ethnocentrism. Monographs that take this linguistic approach, however, have neglected to show that something more is operative within the terminology.