Black Elk Speaks

by

John G. Neihardt

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Black Elk Character Analysis

Black Elk is an Ogalala Lakota medicine man, spiritual leader, and the narrator of the Black Elk Speaks. He begins hearing voices when he is only four years old and he experiences his first great vision when he is nine, during a period when he is deathly ill. In this richly symbolic vision, Black Elk is transported to a cloud world where the Great Spirit shows him the dire future of starving, misery, and displacement that awaits his people before granting him the power necessary to rescue them and restore his nation’s “sacred hoop.” As spiritually invigorating as this experience is, Black Elk’s vision quickly becomes the source of much anxiety and alienation. Black Elk is reluctant to talk to anybody in his tribe about his vision because he doesn’t think they will believe him, and this social isolation makes him feel like an outsider. After Black Elk assumes his role as a medicine man and gains the respect of his people, he feels mounting pressure to save his people and their culture and to fulfill the destiny presented in his vision. Despite Black Elk’s desire to rescue his people and restore their sacred hoop, his spiritual power proves to be no match for the malicious worldly forces that the Lakota are up against: over the course of Black Elk Speaks, his people are displaced, dehumanized, and killed by the growing Wasichu presence in their land, and Black Elk regards his inability to prevent and correct the Wasichus’ acts of violence as a personal failure. Black Elk’s dedication to honor the higher purpose that his vision grants him makes him a humble character, though his attitude toward his people’s white oppressors is critical and bitter. He disdains the Wasichus’ unending greed, and he justifies committing acts of violence and revenge against them on the basis that the Wasichus lie to his people and attack them without provocation. At the end of the narrative, Black Elk’s replaces his anger and bitterness for grief and resignation when he accepts that the “sacred tree” that represents his culture is dead, and that he has failed to protect his people.

Black Elk Quotes in Black Elk Speaks

The Black Elk Speaks quotes below are all either spoken by Black Elk or refer to Black Elk. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Nebraska Press edition of Black Elk Speaks published in 2014.
Chapter 1 Quotes

It is the story of all life that is holy and good to tell, and of us two-leggeds sharing in it with the four-leggeds and the wings of the air and of green things; for these are children of one mother and their father is one Spirit.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), John Neihardt
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

But now that I see it all as from a lonely hilltop, I know it was the story of a mighty vision given to a man too weak to use it; of a holy tree that should have flourished in a people’s heart with flowers and singing birds, and now is withered; and of a people’s dream that died in bloody snow.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Once we were happy in our own country and we were seldom hungry, for then the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds lived together like relatives, and there was plenty for them and for us. But the Wasichus came, and they have made little islands for us and other little islands for the four-leggeds, and always these islands are becoming smaller, for around them surges the gnawing flood of the Wasichu; and it is dirty with lies and greed.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Related Symbols: Yellow Metal / Gold
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Black Elk’s father, Drinks Water
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

So I took the bright red stick and at the center of the nation’s hoop I thrust it in the earth. As it touched the earth it leaped mightily in my hand and was a waga chun, the rustling tree, very tall and full of leafy branches and of all birds singing. And beneath it all the animals were mingling with the people like relatives and making happy cries. The women raised their tremolo of joy, and the men shouted all together: “Here we shall raise our children and be as little chickens under the mother sheo’s wing.”

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), The Six Grandfathers
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Then I was sitting up; and I was sad because my mother and my father didn’t seem to know I had been so far away.

Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The next morning all the swelling had left my face and legs and arms, and I felt well as ever; but everything around me seemed strange and as though it were far away. I remember that for twelve days after that I wanted to be alone, and it seemed I did not belong to my people. They were almost like strangers. I would be out alone away from the village and the other boys, and I would look around to the four quarters, thinking of my vision and wishing I could get back there again. I would go home to eat, but I could not make myself eat much; and my father and mother thought that I was sick yet; but I was not. I was only homesick for the place where I had been.

Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Our people knew there was yellow metal in little chunks up there; but they did not bother with it, because it was not good for anything.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Related Symbols: Yellow Metal / Gold
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

He was a queer man. Maybe he was always part way into that world of his vision. He was a very great man, and I think if the Wasichus had not murdered him down there, maybe we should still have the Black Hills and be happy. They could not have killed him in battle. They had to lie to him and murder him.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Crazy Horse
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

But only crazy or very foolish men would sell their Mother Earth. Sometimes I think it might have been better if we had stayed together and made them kill us all.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Red Cloud, Crazy Horse
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

How could men get fat by being bad, and starve by being good? I thought and thought about my vision, and it made me very sad; for I wondered if maybe it was only a queer dream after all.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Spotted Tail, Crazy Horse
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

It does not matter where his body lies, for it is grass; but where his spirit is, it will be good to be.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Crazy Horse
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I was fifteen years old that winter, and I thought of my vision and wondered when my duty was to come; for the Grandfathers had shown me my people walking on the black road and how the nation’s hoop would be broken and the flowering tree be withered, before I should bring the hoop together with the power that was given me, and make the holy tree to flower in the center and find the red road again. Part of this had happened already, and I wondered when my power would grow, so that the rest might be as I had seen it in my vision.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), The Six Grandfathers, Crazy Horse
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

I could not get along with my people now, and I would take my horse and go far out from camp alone and compare everything on earth and in the sky with my vision. Crows would see me and shout to each other as though they were making fun of me: “Behold him! Behold him!”

When the frosts began I was glad, because there would not be any more thunder storms for a long while, and I was more and more afraid of them all the time, for always there would be the voices crying “Oo oohey! It is time! It is time!”

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Related Symbols: Thunder
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

“Nephew, I know now what the trouble is! You must do your duty and perform this vision for your people upon earth. You must have the horse dance first for the people to see. Then the fear will leave you; but if you do not do this, something very bad will happen to you.”

Related Characters: Black Road (speaker), Black Elk
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

I looked about me and could see that what we then were doing was like a shadow cast upon the earth from yonder vision in the heavens, so bright it was and clear. I knew the real was yonder and the darkened dream of it was here.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), The Six Grandfathers
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

The fear that was on me so long was gone, and when thunder clouds appeared I was always glad to see them, for they came as relatives now to visit me. Everything seemed good and beautiful now, and kind. Before this, the medicine men would not talk to me, but now they would come to me to talk about my vision. From that time on, I always got up very early to see the rising of the daybreak star. People knew that I did this, and many would get up to see it with me, and when it came we said: “Behold the star of understanding!”

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Related Symbols: Thunder
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

And now when I look about me upon my people in despair, I feel like crying and I wish and wish my vision could have been given to a man more worthy. I wonder why it came to me, a pitiful old man who can do nothing. Men and women and children I have cured of sickness with the power the vision gave me; but my nation I could not help.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

But in the heyoka ceremony, everything is backwards, and it is planned that the people shall be made to feel jolly and happy first, so that it may be easier for the power to come to them. You may have noticed that the truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping. When people are already in despair, maybe the laughing face is better for them; and when they feel too good and are too sure of being safe, maybe the weeping face is better for them to see. And so I think that is what the heyoka ceremony is for.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

It is from understanding that power comes; and the power in the ceremony was in understanding what it meant; for nothing can live well except in a manner that is suited to the way the sacred Power of the World lives and moves.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), The Six Grandfathers
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

I can remember when the bison were so many that they could not be counted, but more and more Wasichus came to kill them until there were only heaps and heaps of bones scattered where they used to be. The Wasichus did not kill them to eat; they killed them for the metal that makes them crazy, and they took only the hides to sell. Sometimes they did not even take the hides to sell. Sometimes they did not even take the hides, only the tongues; […] they just killed and killed because they liked to do that. When we hunted bison, we killed only what we needed. And when there was nothing left but heaps of bones, the Wasichus came and gathered up even the bones and sold them.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Related Symbols: Yellow Metal / Gold
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

I was in the air, with outstretched arms, and floating fast. There was a fearful dark river that I had to go over, and I was afraid. It rushed and roared and was full of angry foam. Then I looked down and saw many men and women who were trying to cross the dark and fearful river, but they could not. Weeping, they looked up to me and cried: “Help us!” But I could not stop gliding, for it was as though a great wind were under me.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Wovoka (“The Wanekia”)
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

I did not depend upon the great vision as I should have done; I depended upon the two sticks that I had seen in the lesser vision. It is hard to follow one great vision in this world of darkness and of many changing shadows. Among those shadows men get lost.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), The Six Grandfathers
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

The snow drifted deep in the crooked gulch, and it was one long grave of butchered women and children and babies, who had never done any harm and were only trying to run away.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth,—you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:
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Black Elk Speaks PDF

Black Elk Character Timeline in Black Elk Speaks

The timeline below shows where the character Black Elk appears in Black Elk Speaks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Offering of the Pipe
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Black Elk is going to tell his audience (whom he directly refers to as “you”) the story... (full context)
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Black Elk asks for help from the “Spirit of the World” to see the truth. He gestures... (full context)
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Black Elk discusses the pipe’s origins: a long time ago, two scouts were looking for bison when... (full context)
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...to the nation. As the people watch her go, she transforms into a white bison. Black Elk doesn’t know if any of this really happened, but he knows that it is nonetheless... (full context)
Chapter 2: Early Boyhood
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Black Elk begins his narrative, providing his audience with background on his family: he is a Lakota... (full context)
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As a young child, Black Elk hears much talk of how they must fight the Wasichus, who are going to take... (full context)
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Once, Black Elk recalls, the “two-leggeds” and the “four-leggeds” had lived together harmoniously, and there had been much... (full context)
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Black Elk introduces the audience to his older friend, Fire Thunder, to describe fighting in the Battle... (full context)
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After this battle, Black Elk recalls his mother warning him not to play too far away from their tepee, or... (full context)
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That summer, Black Elk ’s people camp along the Rosebud. They are far away from the Wasichus, and things... (full context)
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Standing Bear, Black Elk ’s friend who is four years older than him, tells the audience that they camped... (full context)
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When Black Elk is five, he is out shooting with a bow and arrows his grandfather made for... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Great Vision
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Very little happens to Black Elk until he’s nine years old, and his people observe a relatively peaceful time: the Wasichus... (full context)
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One day, while eating with a man named Man Hip in his tepee, Black Elk hears voices calling to him. He leaves the tepee and his legs begin to hurt,... (full context)
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The two men gesture toward a bay horse, who speaks to Black Elk . The bay horse points to the west where there are 12 black horses, to... (full context)
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The horses transform into many different kinds of animals before disappearing. Black Elk and the bay horse approach a cloud which transforms into a tepee with a rainbow... (full context)
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The first Grandfather presents Black Elk with a wooden cup of water that “[is] the sky,” which gives him the power... (full context)
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The second Grandfather gives Black Elk a sacred herb. Black Elk feeds the herb to the black horse. The horse fattens... (full context)
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The third Grandfather gives Black Elk a peace pipe with an eagle on its stem, and he tells Black Elk that... (full context)
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The fourth Grandfather gives Black Elk a red stick with branches sprouting from it. He tells Black Elk that the stick... (full context)
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The fifth Grandfather—the oldest of them all and the one who sent for Black Elk —transforms into an eagle before telling Black Elk that birds will “be like relatives” to... (full context)
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Black Elk hears a voice tell him to walk on the black road, and that all nations... (full context)
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After this, Black Elk approaches a village in a valley, which a voice tells him is his. The village... (full context)
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Black Elk places the red stick in the middle of the nation’s hoop and pushes it into... (full context)
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As the group journeys down the red road, the Voice tells Black Elk they are walking on a good road in a “sacred manner.” Black Elk looks ahead... (full context)
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Black Elk sees that the fourth, final ascent will be difficult. The animals turn back into sickly,... (full context)
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...and the last holds the nation’s hoop. They sing and dance in a sacred manner. Black Elk looks at his people, and everyone is happy. He sees the universe as one, and... (full context)
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The oldest Grandfather tells Black Elk he must return to Earth with the power and wisdom they have granted him. Black... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Bison Hunt
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Black Elk regains consciousness in his family’s tepee, surrounded by his parents. Although his body is still... (full context)
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Whirlwind Chaser tells Black Elk ’s parents that there is something special about him. Black Elk is worried that Whirlwind... (full context)
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Black Elk goes out one day with the bow and arrows that Refuse-To-Go made him, and he... (full context)
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Black Elk continues with his narrative, describing a hunt his people go on that distracts him and... (full context)
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...first grown bison on this hunt, which occurred in the Moon of Red Cherries (July). Black Elk isn’t old enough to hunt, so he watched and cheered on the others. The people... (full context)
Chapter 5: At the Soldiers’ Town
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...the hunt is dried, the bands of Lakota that had come together around the time Black Elk had his vision disperse. In the Moon When the Cherries are Ripe (July), Black Elk’s... (full context)
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One day, a boy in Black Elk ’s band climbs a flagpole in the Soldiers’ Village and chop off the top of... (full context)
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In the Moon of the Red Grass Appearing (April), Black Elk ’s band breaks camp and goes to the Black Hills to cut poles for tepees.... (full context)
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Black Elk feels sorry as they butcher and eat the animals, so he asks Black Elk’s father... (full context)
Chapter 6: High Horse’s Courting
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Black Elk tells Watanye’s story about High Horse: There is a girl in High Horse’s village who... (full context)
Chapter 7: Wasichus in the Hills
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It’s now the summer of 1874, and Black Elk is 11 years old. His people have been camping in the Black Hills. One evening,... (full context)
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Black Elk and his friends head out around sundown and travel all night toward Spring Creek, and... (full context)
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Black Elk ’s people spend the winter in the Soldiers’ Town because more Wasichus are coming from... (full context)
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Black Elk ’s people have a sun dance in the Soldiers’ Town that summer, during the Moon... (full context)
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...the council, the Wasichus arrive in droves and build villages in the Hills. In response, Black Elk ’s people decide to go to Crazy Horse in his camp on the Powder. On... (full context)
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Black Elk ’s people run into some of the Hang-Around-the-Fort people, who retreat to the Soldiers’ Town... (full context)
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Crazy Horse was the first chief in Black Elk ’s family, having become one after he had a vision in boyhood. Crazy Horse’s vision... (full context)
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When Black Elk ’s people set up camp on the Powder River, they take extra precautions to protect... (full context)
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That winter, Wasichu runners come to Black Elk ’s people to order them to come to the Soldiers’ Town immediately, or there will... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Fight with Three Stars
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Black Elk ’s people stay in the Soldiers’ Town until the  Moon When the Ponies Shed (May).... (full context)
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...way to Crazy Horse, they come across a group of Wasichus on the Bozeman Trail. Black Elk ’s people attack, and Black Elk resigns to die in battle. When the Wasichus see... (full context)
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Black Elk explains how the sun dance works: a holy man finds the holy tree and calls... (full context)
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Black Elk resumes his narrative. After finishing the sun dance, scouts tell the village that there are... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Rubbing Out of Long Hair
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Black Elk describes his participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn. After fighting the Wasichus along... (full context)
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The next day, Black Elk feels ill. Just as Black Elk and some other boys are greasing themselves to go... (full context)
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Black Elk finds his brother, who tells him to go back. Black Elk follows his brother and... (full context)
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...run upstream, eventually riding into the river, where they continue to fight. A warrior orders Black Elk to scalp a Wasichu, so Black Elk shoots the Wasichu in the forehead and takes... (full context)
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Black Elk continues with his narrative: after showing his mother the Wasichu’s scalp, Black Elk stays with... (full context)
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...the top of the hill, where they find dead horses, dead Wasichus, and dead warriors. Black Elk sees Chase-in-the-Morning holding up the body of Black Elk’s cousin, Black Wasichu, who has been... (full context)
Chapter 10: Walking the Black Road
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Black Elk ’s people stay near the Bighorn Mountains for about a month. Black Elk’s father tells... (full context)
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By the Moon of Black Cherries (August), Black Elk ’s people hear that the soldiers are returning. They move camp, burning the grass behind... (full context)
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In the Moon of the Black Calf (September), when Black Elk ’s people are camping near the head of the Grand River, a battle breaks out... (full context)
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In the Moon of the Falling Leaves (November), Black Elk ’s people learn that the Black Hills and the land west of the Hills—where Black... (full context)
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...attacking the camp as the people slept. Dull Knife and his surviving, starving people join Black Elk ’s camp, but Black Elk’s people are starving and have no food to offer them.... (full context)
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...the Wasichus. Spotted Tail was a good chief before he surrendered to the Wasichus, but Black Elk doesn’t like Spotted Tail because he is fat with Wasichu food while the rest of... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Killing of Crazy Horse
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During the Moon When the Calf Grows Hair (September), Black Elk ’s people pack up their things at Red Cloud Agency and head to Spotted Tail’s... (full context)
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The next evening, Black Elk ’s people are at Red Cloud’s agency when some soldiers take Crazy Horse to the... (full context)
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Black Elk and Black Elk’s father return to camp. Everyone mourns the loss of Crazy Horse, who... (full context)
Chapter 12: Grandmother’s Land
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The Wasichus order Black Elk ’s people to move to a different agency. The band splits up, half going with... (full context)
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One day, Black Elk joins his uncle, Running Horse, to hunt bison. As they approach the Little River Creek,... (full context)
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In another instance, when Black Elk is out hunting with a man named Iron Tail in June, a voice tells him... (full context)
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Black Elk ’s people stay on the Clay Creek in Grandmother’s Land all that summer and winter.... (full context)
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Black Elk and Black Elk’s father head home. Black Elk finds that five of their horses have... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Compelling Fear
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In the spring, two families from Black Elk ’s group set out for a place they used to camp. One morning, while Black... (full context)
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...settle in a Soldiers’ Town at the mouth of the Tongue River. The soldiers take Black Elk ’s people’s guns and leave them with only two horses per tepee. In the Moon... (full context)
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Black Elk turns 17 that winter. When the spring comes around, Black Elk’s parents ask a medicine... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Horse Dance
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...the dance. The village sets up a sacred tepee that is painted with pictures from Black Elk ’s vision. Black Road and Bear Sings purify Black Elk in a sweat lodge and... (full context)
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Black Elk stands in the sacred tepee and holds a red stick. The dance begins with the... (full context)
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Black Elk sees the Six Grandfathers before him in the cloud, as well as himself on the... (full context)
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...to lead. The procession faces the west, east, south, and north, and at each direction, Black Elk prays to the spirits for wisdom and protection. When everyone is facing the sacred tepee,... (full context)
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...and passed around to the whole village. Everyone is happy after the horse dance, and Black Elk no longer feels fear and anxiety. Before, the medicine men had refused to talk to... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Dog Vision
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Black Elk ’s people stay at the foot of the Tongue River through June, when a soldier... (full context)
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On their journey, Black Elk goes off alone and sings a song from his vision. He sees the two men... (full context)
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When spring arrives, Black Elk goes lamenting with the help of a medicine man named Few Tails. Few Tails tells... (full context)
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The chicken hawk tells Black Elk that his Grandfathers will speak to him now. The dust rises around Black Elk, and... (full context)
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Black Elk falls asleep and dreams of his people sitting sadly around a sacred tepee. As he... (full context)
Chapter 16: Heyoka Ceremony
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After waiting 20 days, it is time for Black Elk to perform the heyoka ceremony. Black Elk compares the heyoka ceremony’s function to a thunder... (full context)
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Black Elk and One Side act out Black Elk’s dog vision, charging toward the boiling pot. Mimicking... (full context)
Chapter 17: The First Cure
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After the heyoka ceremony, Black Elk and some others move to the place between Wounded Knee Creek and Grass Creek, which... (full context)
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One day in June, Black Elk asks One Side with help finding the four-rayed herb he saw in his great vision.... (full context)
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Black Elk is eating supper when a man named Cuts-to-Pieces approaches him, asking for help with his... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Powers of the Bison and the Elk
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Black Elk explains to his audience that someone who has had a vision can’t use it until... (full context)
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Black Elk admits that until now, as he is telling his life story to Neihardt, he never... (full context)
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Black Elk resumes his narrative to describe how he performed the bison part of his vision. To... (full context)
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The next summer in 1883, when Black Elk is 21 years old, he performs the elk ceremony, which symbolizes growth. He enlists Running... (full context)
Chapter 19: Across the Big Water 
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The fall after Black Elk performs the elk ceremony (1883), the Wasichus kill the last bison. Unlike the Lakotas, who... (full context)
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Black Elk continues to cure people for three years. In 1886, he hears that the Wasichus want... (full context)
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Black Elk and about a hundred other men and women are sent on the “iron road” to... (full context)
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In the spring, some of the performers go home. Black Elk and the remaining performers accompany the Wasichus on a big fire-boat. The journey is long... (full context)
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Eventually, they reach the shore, where Black Elk sees houses that are very close together. The Indians spend the night on the boat.... (full context)
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...Indian performers that they must come visit her, and they do so later that month. Black Elk ’s people are brought to her enormous house. Black Elk sees seats arranged in a... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Spirit Journey
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Black Elk performs in shows for the next few months in Manchester, but he and some others... (full context)
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One morning, while Black Elk is sitting with the girl and her family, the roof appears to move. A cloud... (full context)
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...back in town, and they all go to his show. Buffalo Bill, or Pahuska, as Black Elk calls him, is glad to see Black Elk, but Black Elk decides it’s time to... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Messiah
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Black Elk sees that his people’s situation has gotten much more dire during his time abroad. Now,... (full context)
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The summer that Black Elk returns (1889), he hears talk of a Paiute man out west who has supposedly spoken... (full context)
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...world when the time came. Performing the Ghost Dance would also make the Wasichus disappear. Black Elk had initially been skeptical, but he begins to see the similarities between his vision and... (full context)
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That winter is a harsh one. Many people die from “the bad sickness,” including Black Elk ’s father. Black Elk’s brother and sister died while he was overseas, and now it’s... (full context)
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...They say that Wovoka’s “cloud in a whirlwind” will come the following spring, in 1891. Black Elk later hears that Kicking Bear performed the first Ghost Dance at the head of the... (full context)
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Although Black Elk doesn’t yet fully believe in Wovoka’s vision, Black Elk’s father’s death inspires him to think... (full context)
Chapter 22: Visions of the Other World
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Black Elk dresses for the sacred dance. He thinks of his dead family, cries, and hopes that... (full context)
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...next day, the people cry and laugh as they dance, holding hands in a circle. Black Elk dances with his eyes shut and begins to feel strange, as though he is no... (full context)
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Two men wearing holy shirts approach Black Elk and tell him that he has work to do before he can see Black Elk’s... (full context)
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The next day, Black Elk makes the shirts like the ones he saw in his vision. Next, he makes a... (full context)
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Black Elk touches the ground. Twelve men approach Black Elk and tell him it’s time for him... (full context)
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One of the 12 men who surround Black Elk gives him a white painted stick and a red painted stick, urging Black Elk to... (full context)
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Black Elk is swept up into the air. He crosses over a river and sees people beneath... (full context)
Chapter 23: Bad Trouble Coming
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...at No Water’s Camp on Clay Creek, a Wasichu agent tells them to stop dancing. Black Elk sees this as evidence that the Wasichus are afraid of the Wanekia. Black Elk later... (full context)
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...of the food they promised them. While dancing with the Brules at Cut Meat Creek, Black Elk has a vision in which he sees the Flaming Rainbow and a tepee made of... (full context)
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Black Elk returns to the Ogalalas at Wounded Knee after dancing with the Brules. One day, they... (full context)
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The next day, a policeman stops by to inform Good Thunder and Black Elk that the Wasichus are going to arrest them. That night, they flee to the Brule... (full context)
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Black Elk and Good Thunder’s group continues on, moving toward the Badlands. There, they meet with two... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Butchering at Wounded Knee
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The morning of the incident, Black Elk hears shooting in the distance. He puts on his sacred shirt, grabs his bow, and... (full context)
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Black Elk and the others ride over the ridge and fight the cavalrymen. As they make their... (full context)
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After the soldiers leave, Black Elk ’s friend Dog Chief tells him how the trouble began: that morning, soldiers started to... (full context)
Chapter 25: The End of the Dream
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Black Elk and Red Crow, a fellow warrior, retrieve babies they had hidden earlier from danger and... (full context)
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Black Elk wants revenge, so he and some other Lakotas set out the next day to fight.... (full context)
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In the Moon of Frost in the Tepee (January), Black Elk learns that there will be another chance to fight, as there are some Wasichu soldiers... (full context)
Chapter 26: Author’s Postscript
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After Black Elk finishes his narrative, he points to Harney Peak and identifies it as the place where... (full context)
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When the group reaches the peak, Black Elk , dressed as he was in his initial vision and holding the sacred pipe, faces... (full context)