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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2008 The John G. Neihardt Trust (P)2014 Skyyrim Studios

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Tale of tears

The greatest and saddest story I've listen to, well captured by Flaming Rainbow. How badly The People were treated, and the constant soup of lies they were forced to eat. Do not listen if you are not ready to hear America's dark history. What strikes me is how surprised people are to hear about the freedoms lost to our Govt today. Read and listen to the history of your Grandfathers folks; don't think that what was done to The People before wont be done to you tomorrow.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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loved it!

This is by far the best book I've ever read about Native American culture. A must-read for anyone interesting in the spiritual practices of the Native American Indians.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Coatesville, IN, United States
  • 03-14-14

A book that will change your life...

Would you listen to Black Elk Speaks again? Why?

This is a book that I will be relistening to and rereading over and over again the rest of my life. It is so full of fascinating detail about another culture, spiritual insight and wisdom that I will get more out of it every time I listen to it.

What did you like best about this story?

The spirituality of the hoop of the world. The ending when Neihardt takes Black Elk up Harney Peak one last night.

Which character – as performed by Robin Neihardt – was your favorite?

Black Elk

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. It is easy to listen to RobinNeihardt's voice so the fascinating book comes through well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An epic and important story

This is a spiritual diary about the struggles of the aboriginal people in the U.S. It is honest about suffering and struggles of these people

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A haunting story

To hear the words of Black Elk is so moving and sad indeed! May his vision yet be realized...for all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insight full, packed full of meaning ...

If you could sum up Black Elk Speaks in three words, what would they be?

Life & Times of a True Native American

Who was your favorite character and why?

Black Elk ... simple, understandable use of language but with tremendous meaning in every word. You can appreciate his life story simply as an autobiography or you can quickly find the deep understanding and meaning therein.

Have you listened to any of Robin Neihardt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narration is VERY dry and formal, BUT this is appropriate for the topic and the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I listened to the entire book in one sitting but I plan to revisit sections in the future and dig deeper.

Any additional comments?

I think a reader could use this an entre into the Native American spiritual perspective, but I think you could also use this much later in your research and growth on a much deeper level.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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my heart cries

it felt like he was telling the stories to me, and I am sad with him.

Honorable
Noble

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A moving book showing the Lakota perspective.

A sad but wonderful book. If you want to know how things were in the eyes of the Lakota this is a must read. The audio performance made it even more enjoyable.

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Black Elk Melancholy

After listening to a history podcast about Crazy Horse. I wanted a deeper understanding of the Lakota.

Black Elk Speaks is a rich story of pain and sorrow. Through Black Elk's eyes you see the misery the Lakota's suffer. Much of the story is Black Elk's spiritual journey. Black Elk shares his spiritual visions with his audience. He talks of the good he does as result of his vision. He speaks modestly and honestly about losing his way, how hard it is to follow a single vision an entire lifetime. It seems losing his way troubled him a lot.

Black Elk thought his vision was about bringing his people together in happiness. Perhaps this book is a part of fulfilling his vision.

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made me aware of how the US was stolen from people

this book is important. we need to learn about the accounts of native americans in middle schools across the U.S.

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  • D. D. Pianta
  • 12-30-17

Sad but amazing. it should be taught in schools.

sad, amazing, inspirational. it should definitely be taught in schools for everyone to know the truth

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  • Mrs. Sandra A. Geary
  • 03-26-16

fantastic book recommend to anyone

This is such a great book to read and gives a great insight to the American Indians way of life and the struggle they faced in the genocide of their culture. Black Elk your words are forever held in my heart may the great spirit bring into being your vision of the sacred hoops of all nations.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful