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Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition

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Ironically, 'Star Wars' would lead me to Joseph Campbell and comfort with the idea that there is a great deal encoded in our genes that invisibly effects our behavior. It is also a source of hope that people may recognize that great ideas are very hard to express, and may come to use through many imperfect attempts, all beautiful. At the age of 9, he had his first vision of the power of the natural forces of nature from the four directions and saw the afterlife of his people. This vision changed his life. He felt duty bound to help his people and became a healer. Throughout his life, nature often brought him warnings of events on the immediate horizon. You have said to me, when I was still young and could hope, that in difficulty I should send a voice four times, once for each quarter of the earth, and you would hear me.

Black Elk Speaks - John G. Neihardt - Google Books Black Elk Speaks - John G. Neihardt - Google Books

The author did a thorough job in researching this book and there was plenty of material to pull from. I think some of the chapters such as those covering the Battle at Little Bighorn and Massacre at Wounded Knee have been written better by others but the writing was still good. I think the latter 1/2 of the book was fresh. The author also wrote an excellent epilogue that summarized some of the challenges facing Pine Ridge in modern times. Now what I did like about this book was that part of the Sioux history that I have not read before, their life once confined to reservations. While the book did deal with the tribe's history before the end of hostilities and included the incidents of Sand Creek, Fetterman's Ambush, Little Big Horn, and Wounded Knee, this history has been treated with greater depth and detail in other works. This earlier history, however, did set the stage for the tragedy of reservation life and the degradation of the Sioux culture. This part of Indian history can easily provoke discussion and debate and this part of the book is what really saved it for me. I can understand the harsh treatment of Indians in the 19th century when memories of the hostilities were still fresh and the participants still alive but the treatment persisted into the 20th century with no real improvement. The very idea of the need for change doesn't even seem to exist until after Neihardt's book is published and read by a few people in positions to affect change. Another sad part of our history with Native Americans. With tears running, O Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, with tears running I must say now that the tree has never bloomed. A pitiful old man, you see me here, and I have fallen away and have done nothing. Here at the centre of the world, where you took me when I was young and taught me; here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered, Grandfather, my Grandfather! All of the metaphorical + verbal clichés used relative to the time period this was written in are extremely annoying to read repeatedly & makes this feel even more inauthentic & embellished than I already know it is.

Therefore I am sending a voice Great Spirit, my Grandfather, forgetting nothing you have made, the stars of the universe and the grasses of the earth. I've made it to the half-way point, and the audio book is now on its way, too, but I had some interesting revelations of my own, while I was reading this important work. From the west you have given me the cup of living water and the sacred bow, the power to make life and to destroy. You have given me a sacred wind and and an herb from where the white giant lives --- the cleansing power and the healing. The daybreak star and the pipe, you have given from the east; and from the south, the nation's sacred hoop and the tree that was to bloom. To the centre of the world you have taken me and showed the goodness and the beauty and the strangeness of the greening earth, the only mother --- and there the spirit shapes of things, as they should be, you have shown to me and I have seen. At the centre of this sacred hoop you have said that I should make the tree to bloom. The timeline at the end is excellent. Really helps put things in perspective as an easy reference point.

Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition on JSTOR Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition on JSTOR

I'm at the point in life where there is little else to linger for save yesterday. This book took me there in spades. Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side.” ~ George Orwell My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life…and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow? So many other men have lived and shall live that story, to be grass upon the hills…This, then, is not the tale of a great hunter or of a great warrior, or of a great traveler, although I have made much meat in my time and fought for my people both as boy and man, and have gone far and seen strange lands and men…But now that I can see it all as from a lonely hilltop, I know it was the story of a mighty vision given to a man too weak to use it; of a holy tree that should have flourished in a people’s heart with flowers and singing birds, and now is withered; and of a people’s dream that died in bloody snow.This should be required reading for all. The way Indians were treated is overlooked and frankly, we should all pause to understand how our lives were influenced in some way by the broken promises of our ancestors. It's disgusting, disappointing, disrespectful. The way Indians were abused, the disease the settlers spread, and how Indians still pay 150 years later with poverty, alcoholism, and perhaps worst of all, the loss of their identity. Damn. Indiāņi ir vienīgā pašlaik dzīvojošā tauta, kura ir pieredzējusi Mu kontinenta sadalīšanos pašlaik esošajos kontinentos, kurai ir atlantīdiešu zināšanas un galvenais - atmiņa par to visu.

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