Analysis Of The Book ' Black Elk '

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Benjamin Duong Dr. Padma Manian History 24 American Indian History 3/19/2016 Black Elk Speaks Throughout American history, there have been unrelenting efforts to force Native American peoples to surrender their tribal existence, national sovereignty, land ownership, tribal land relations, and indigenous tribal religions by turning to western ideals of the Christian religion. Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt is a literary text of considerable significance especially on American culture and religion that tries to examine how Native Americans reconcile their sentiments regarding these unrelenting forces. The book’s main character, Black Elk, a Lakota holy man who is raised in the Lakota Sioux nation’s Oglala band, uses his visions to prescribe solutions for his people. He witnesses various events that shape his life such as the massacre at Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance. Black Elk is an uncharacteristic member of the Sioux nation, particularly due to his youthful visions and final emergence as the Sioux medicine man with healing and prophetic powers. His great experiences give a deep insight into how the Sioux related with nature. By the time Black Elk is interviewed by John Neihhardt, he is in the twilight years of his life. He is risking a lot by revealing some sacred details about his life to a white man. However, he feels compelled so that he can preserve his sacred visions and thinking for posterity. He uses detailed symbolism as well as instructions passed down
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