Black Elk Speaks

by

John G. Neihardt

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Agency

Agencies were establishments enacted by the U.S. government to control American Indian life. Many American Indians had no other choice but to live on agencies after westward expansion resulted in their displacement and the diminishment… read analysis of Agency

Brules

The Brules are one of the seven bands, or tribes, that make up the Lakota people. The other tribes are Black Feet, Hunkpapa, Minneconjou, Ogalala, Sans Arcs, and Two Kettles. read analysis of Brules

Crow

The Crow are a Plains tribe. They were enemies of the Sioux during the timespan Black Elk covers in his narrative. read analysis of Crow

Ghost Dance

The Ghost Dance movement was a messianic movement pioneered by a Paiute Indian named Wovoka (called Jack Wilson by the Wasichus) in the late 19th century. The movement spread across the U.S. and was… read analysis of Ghost Dance

Heyoka

Heyoka is a Lakota word meaning “contrary” or “sacred clown.” In the Lakota culture, heyokas are sacred people—people with access to spiritual knowledge and power—who publicly perform those powers in an entertaining, opposite fashion, and… read analysis of Heyoka
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Hunkpapa

The Hunkpapa are one of the seven bands, or tribes, that make up the Lakota people. Hunkpapa means “Head of the Camp Circle” in Lakota. Iron Hawk is a Hunkpapa. read analysis of Hunkpapa

Lakota

The Lakota are one of the Great Sioux Nation’s three tribes. The Lakota people consist of seven different bands, or tribes: Black Feet, Brules, Hunkpapa, Minneconjou, Ogalala, Sans Arcs, and Two… read analysis of Lakota

Lament

Lamenting is a type of vision quest in which the lamenter is “crying for a dream.” In this sacred ritual, the lamenter seeks the advice of a medicine man before isolating themselves and crying out… read analysis of Lament

Minneconjou

The Minneconjou are one of the seven bands, or tribes, that make up the Lakota people. Minneconjou means “Planter by Water” in Lakota. Standing Bear is a Minneconjou. read analysis of Minneconjou

Ogalala

The Ogalala are one of the seven bands, or tribes, that make up the Lakota people. Black Elk is an Ogalala Lakota. Ogalala means “Scatter One’s Own” in the Lakota language. read analysis of Ogalala

Sioux

The Sioux are a grouping of Indian tribes: the Lakota, the Dakota, and the Nakota. The Lakota (Black Elk’s tribe) are the westernmost Sioux tribe. read analysis of Sioux

Wasichu

Washichu is the Lakota word meaning for “white people.” In the Lakota language, the term also refers to “something holy, incomprehensible.” read analysis of Wasichu