Essay about Black Elk and the History of the Lakota Native American

Decent Essays

Black Elk plays a major role in retelling the history of the Lakota Native Americans. Having witnessed the Battle of Little Bighorn and living through the transfer of Native Americans to the Pine Ridge Reservation, Black Elk can attest to the treatment endured by Native Americans. Black Elk tells the story of a people injured in war and subject to sufferings for the years to follow. Black Elk was born in 1863 in Wyoming (“Black Elk”). He would later become the Oglala Lakota holy man (“Black Elk – 1863-1950”). Chief Crazy Horse led a group of Sioux Native Americans in government resistance. Being Black Elk’s second cousin, Black Elk was able to closely see the actions of the government towards the Native Americans. In May of 1877, Chief …show more content…

The reservation was also the place where the Battle of Wounded Knee occurred (“History of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation”). As the Ghost Dance movement grew in strength and popularity, so did the uneasiness of the United States government. Sitting Bull was captured and killed. The U.S. 7th Cavalry attacked Black Elk’s Sioux encampment, killing 200 men, women, and children. Black Elk also experienced the poverty and starvation forced upon them by the policies of the U.S. government (“Black Elk”). The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 guaranteed land to the Great Sioux Nation. This was cut down to create the present day Pine Ridge Reservation (Martinez).
Black Elk seemed disgusted by the behavior of the United States government. Black Elk had lived through the government’s unlawful slaughter of Chief Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. He had seen the Battle of Little Bighorn where an attempt was made to forcibly take their sacred land. Black Elk had witnessed the massacre of men, women, and children at the Battle of Wounded Knee. Black Elk went as far to say that “I did not know then how much was ended….I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.” Black Elk experienced the true injustices done by the government, and lived long enough to see their negative impact (“Black Elk”).
John Neihardt, an author, documented the life and

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