Black Elk Speaks

by

John G. Neihardt

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Black Elk Speaks can help.
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.
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Ogalala Term Timeline in Black Elk Speaks

The timeline below shows where the term Ogalala appears in Black Elk Speaks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Early Boyhood
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...narrative, providing his audience with background on his family: he is a Lakota of the Ogalala band, and he is the fourth person of his family to be named Black Elk.... (full context)
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...road through Black Elk’s people’s country to where they’d found the yellow metal, but the Ogalalas fear that a road would scare away the bison and attract even more Wasichus. The... (full context)
Chapter 5: At the Soldiers’ Town
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...the top of it. The Wasichu soldiers surround the pole and want to fight the Ogalalas in retaliation, but their chief at the time, Red Cloud, tells the soldiers that grown... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Rubbing Out of Long Hair
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...fighting around the Santee camp in a cloud of dust. Black Elk returns to the Ogalala camp to show his mother his first scalp, and she “[gives] a big tremolo” in... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Dog Vision
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...the Grandmother’s Land. Black Elk decides that it’s time to return to his people, the Ogalalas, and fulfill the destiny given to him in his vision. Black Elk and the Brules... (full context)
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
...people. Black Elk reaches the Pine Ridge Agency that the soldiers have built for the Ogalalas, and he stays there through the winter of 1881, when he turns 18 years old.... (full context)
Chapter 19: Across the Big Water 
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...people for three years. In 1886, he hears that the Wasichus want a band of Ogalalas for a show that will be put on “across the  big water.” Black Elk decides... (full context)
Chapter 23: Bad Trouble Coming
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
Black Elk returns to the Ogalalas at Wounded Knee after dancing with the Brules. One day, they hear that soldiers from... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...who force them to go back to Pine Ridge. Most of Brules refuse, but the Ogalalas obey the chiefs. On their way to Pine Ridge, they learn that Sitting Bull was... (full context)