Black Elk

Black Elk: In a work entitled Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1932; repr 1988), Black Elk (1863-1950) recounted his life to John G. Neihardt (1881-1973), conveying important insights into Native American culture, religion, and life on the Plains, as well as a firsthand account of the destruction of that way of life. Black Elk witnessed both Custer’s defeat at Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, in which the U.S. Army killed over a hundred men, women, and children. The massacre marked the end of the Indian Wars.

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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