Black Elk Speaks


John G. Neihardt

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Neihardt is the author of Black Elk Speaks. With Ben Black Elk acting as a translator, Black Elk told Neihardt the story of his life. Black Elk Speaks is Black Elk’s life story, as told through Neihardt. When Black Elk addresses an audience (using “you”), he is speaking to Neihardt. The Author’s Postscript at the end of the book is told from Neihardt’s perspective.

John Neihardt Quotes in Black Elk Speaks

The Black Elk Speaks quotes below are all either spoken by John Neihardt or refer to John Neihardt. 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:
Nature Theme Icon
). 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:
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Black Elk Speaks PDF

John Neihardt Character Timeline in Black Elk Speaks

The timeline below shows where the character John Neihardt appears in Black Elk Speaks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 17: The First Cure
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...Creek, which is where Black Elk resides at the time he tells his story to Neihardt. They build log houses, even though Indians typically try to build round things. Indians place... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Powers of the Bison and the Elk
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
Black Elk admits that until now, as he is telling his life story to Neihardt, he never told one person all of his vision—not even his friend, Standing Bear, or... (full context)