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Black Elk Speaks By John G. Neihardt

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Black Elk Speaks is a book written by John G. Neihardt as well as Black Elk the Lakota healer. This recounts the events in Black Elk’s life including: Ghost Dances, Battle of Little Bighorn, and Wounded Knee. The accounts of history in Black Elk Speaks reveals the late culture of the Plains Indians as they were being eliminated by the America soldiers as well as American settlers pushing into “untamed” territory. The Ghost Dance religion, tribal life, and reservation habitats were portrayed very close to accurate in this book. Black Elks first hand account contributed greatly to this. Black Elk Speaks is constructed in an interview style of writing. The book uses phrases such as: He said this or I asked this referring to Black Elk and Neihardt respectively. The book has little symbolism and is written in more of a simplistic and straightforward manner. Black Elk Speaks is considered a spiritual classic. At the beginning Black Elk and John Neihardt smoke the red willow in a traditional way in an offering to the Great Spirit (Elk). Smoking was a common occurrence in Indian life and smoking red willow or the mixture named kinnikinnick was used to make the tobacco go further due to short supply (Mails 101). According to Mails, horses were able to smell the scent of the Indians due to kinnikinnik from great distances (Mails 101). Black Elk begins telling his life story introducing his boyhood as we 'll as his first vision. Black Elk, a Lakota healer, has visions that inspire
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