The famous life story of the Lakota healer and visionary, Nicholas Black Elk.
Widely hailed as a spiritual classic, this inspirational and unfailingly powerful story reveals the life and visions of the Lakota healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950) and the tragic history of his Sioux people during the epic closing decades of the Old West. In 1930, the aging Black Elk met a kindred spirit, the famed poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt (1881–1973) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Lakota elder chose Neihardt to share his visions and life with the world. Neihardt understood and today Black Elk is known to all.
Black Elk’s remarkable great vision came to him during a time of decimation and loss, when outsiders were stealing the Lakotas’ land, slaughtering buffalo, and threatening their age-old way of life. As Black Elk remembers all too well, the Lakotas, led by such legendary men as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, fought unceasingly for their freedom, winning a world-renowned victory at the Little Bighorn and suffering unspeakable losses at Wounded Knee.
Black Elk Speaks however is more than the epic history of a valiant Native nation. It is beloved as a spiritual classic because of John Neihardt’s sensitivity to Black Elk’s resounding vision of the wholeness of earth, her creatures, and all of humanity. Black Elk Speaks is a once-in-a-lifetime read: the moving story of a young Lakota boy before the reservation years, the unforgettable history of an American Indian nation, and an enduring spiritual message for us all.
The premier edition features the first-ever annotated edition of Black Elk’s story, done by renowned Lakota scholar Raymond J. DeMallie, the original Standing Bear illustrations and new commentary on them, new maps of the world of Black Elk Speaks, and a revised index.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The audiobook of John G. Neihardt’s 1932 classic, Black Elk Speaks, feels like a celebration of the Native American peoples’ oral tradition and the power of stories to connect generations. In this iconic history, Neihardt—a poet and amateur historian—relates the fascinating life and memories of Lakota medicine man Black Elk, who lived through everything from the Battle of the Little Bighorn to the Wounded Knee Massacre. Black Elk’s son translate his father’s life story to Neihardt—and Neihardt’s own grandson, Robin, empathetically narrates this audiobook. This is a vital glimpse into the past that never shies away from the sadness and anger that often run through Black Elk’s story. Black Elk Speaks is an inspiring listen packed with honor, tragedy, courage, and compassion—and one of the most American stories you’re likely to hear.