By Michael F. Steltenkamp
This biography of Black Elk is predicated on large interviews with Lucy seems two times, the holy man’s final surviving baby, in addition to others who knew him in my view. Michael F. Steltenkamp sheds new gentle at the determine portrayed in Black Elk Speaks as a sufferer of Western subjugation, doomed to stay out his existence as a relic of the prior. as an alternative, Steltenkamp finds that during 1904 Black Elk used to be baptized a Catholic and for that reason served as a loyal catechist and missionary to his fellow American Indians until eventually his loss of life in 1950.
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Additional resources for Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala
Black Elk's life goes beyond the neat construct of total nativism on the one hand, or complete absorption of Western ways on the other. His biography is not a profile in syncretism but is, rather, an example of reflexive adjustment to new cultural landscapes that previously had not been explored. The conventional assumption regarding Lakota history is that chameleonlike, a pastel world changed to moribund gray in the years after Wounded Knee. A "people's dream" had died, and their once-vital lifeblood clotted with each Page xxii passing year.
At the time, I little realized what this task would entail. I corresponded with Joseph Epes Brown during this period, and his words gave additional incentive to my visits with Lucy over the next few years. He wrote: "I have felt it improper that this phase of his life was never presented either by Neihardt or indeed by myself. " Brown suggested that the record be set straight, and it was clearly Lucy's intention throughout the course of my relationship with her to do just that. She had long desired to undertake such a project and, from that time on, looked forward to my visits.
Essentially, then, sixty years of the man's life are unaccounted for, and readers are left to wonder whether Black Elk participated at all in the twentieth-century reservation world (fifty years of which he knew). Brown's 1971 preface to The Sacred Pipe rightly suggested that what so far has been revealed in the two books on Black Elk only "raises the question as to who, in fact, Black Elk really was" (xiii). Roger Dunsmore (1977) raised the same question, insisting that one of the principal tasks of anthropologists is to understand how people such as Black Elk made sense of the disastrous encounter between Oglala culture and the invading white culture (if indeed they did).
Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala by Michael F. Steltenkamp