Nicholas Black Elk
Since its publication in 1932, Black Elk Speaks has moved countless readers to appreciate the American Indian world that it described. John Neihardt's popular narrative addressed the youth and early adulthood of Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux religious elder. Michael F. Steltenkamp now provides the first full interpretive biography of Black Elk, distilling in one volume what is known of this American Indian wisdom keeper whose life has helped guide others.
Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic shows that the holy man was not the dispirited traditionalist commonly depicted in literature, but a religious thinker whose outlook was positive and whose spirituality was not limited solely to traditional Lakota precepts. Steltenkamp examines the arc of Black Elk's life and religious journey through the last half of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Combining in-depth biography with its cultural context, the author depicts a more complex Black Elk than has been previously known: a world traveler who participated in the Battle of Little Bighorn yet lived through the beginning of the atomic age.