Black Elk Speaks

by

John G. Neihardt

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Agency Term Analysis

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 of their food sources, like bison. At the time, agencies were synonymous with reservations.

Agency Quotes in Black Elk Speaks

The Black Elk Speaks quotes below are all either spoken by Agency or refer to Agency. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 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:
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:
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Agency Term Timeline in Black Elk Speaks

The timeline below shows where the term Agency appears in Black Elk Speaks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: Walking the Black Road
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...Elk’s people make their way ahead of Crazy Horse and the others toward Red Cloud Agency, which is near the Soldiers’ Town, and in the Moon When the Ponies Shed (May),... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Killing of Crazy Horse
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...the Calf Grows Hair (September), Black Elk’s people pack up their things at Red Cloud Agency and head to Spotted Tail’s camp, but Red Cloud’s people catch up to them and... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
The next evening, Black Elk’s people are at Red Cloud’s agency when some soldiers take Crazy Horse to the Soldiers’ Town nearby. Black Elk and  Black... (full context)
Chapter 12: Grandmother’s Land
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
The Wasichus order Black Elk’s people to move to a different agency. The band splits up, half going with Red Cloud, and the other half—including Black Elk—going... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Dog Vision
Nature Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...that the men want him to help his people. Black Elk reaches the Pine Ridge Agency that the soldiers have built for the Ogalalas, and he stays there through the winter... (full context)
Nature Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...lodge before the lamentation ceremony beings. The ceremony takes place on a hill outside the Agency, by Grass Creek. They make the ground sacred with sage and place sacred offerings to... (full context)
Chapter 25: The End of the Dream
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...hidden earlier from danger and they return to Pine Ridge. Everybody has fled, and the agency is empty. They eat some of the food the Indians left behind, and soldiers shoot... (full context)