Black Elk Speaks


John G. Neihardt

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Black Elk Speaks Symbols


The prevalence of thunder and other weather events in Black Elk’s visions and daily life reflects the significant role that nature plays in Lakota culture and spirituality. Thunder’s spiritual associations—particularly as they pertain to…

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The Nation’s Hoop and the Blooming Tree

The nation’s hoop—a sacred image that is central to Black Elk’s great vision—symbolizes the former unity of the Lakota people. After white settlers move west in search of gold and wealth, the Lakota are…

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Yellow Metal / Gold

“Yellow metal,” or gold, symbolizes the Wasichus’ (white peoples’) greed and, by extension, the looming threat that this greed poses to the Lakota people. When gold is discovered in the Black Hills during an…

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