Discusses the main message of John Neihardt's book "Black Elk Speaks"; uses specific examples and Black Elk's experiences.

Essay by jpiercefUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2003

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teacher suggested that I explain my main points more clearly

Black Elk Speaks, a powerful narrative told by Black Elk through John G. Neihardt, recreates powerful historical accounts of the American Indian Wars through eye-witness descriptions and graphic imagery. Black Elk chose Neihardt to act as his disciple, so that Neihardt could pass on the power of his sacred visions and the knowledge that he possessed as a Lakota holy man. Both parties involved, Black Elk and John Neihardt, wanted to provide an everlasting reminder as to what actually resulted from the drive for "progress" in the late 19th century, from a different account than traditionally told through a history book. They also wanted to convey the power of Black Elk's visions and how the belief in this power has the ability to unite people from all societies, cultures and backgrounds for one common purpose.

Black Elk's visions made him fearless and brave in the conquest of anything that would help his people.

Black Elk's intense faith in his visions gave him a power unimaginable to a Westerner. No American can understand the logic in going into battle against machine guns with nothing but a bow, simply because your vision said that a bow would be your protection. Nor could a Western understand the reasoning behind riding in full view of armed enemies with nothing but a spotted robe and a spotted belt covering your body, just because his belief told him that he would be protected by this sacred animal skin. When Black Elk finally reveals his visions to his tribe members, they encourage him to recreate every aspect of his vision in a performance for people here on Earth. Everything and everyone involved with the reenactment is a symbol of an aspect of "the other world" that...