Topic: Other News
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Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) (c. December 1863 – August 17 or August 19, 1950 (sources differ)) was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He was the second cousin of Crazy Horse. Black Elk participated, at about the age of twelve, in the Battle of Little Big Horn of 1876, and was wounded in the massacre that occurred at Wounded Knee in 1890.
In 1887, Black Elk travelled to England with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, an unpleasant experience he described in chapter 19 of Black Elk Speaks. He was accidentally left behind and had to make his own way back to his homeland.
Black Elk married his first wife, Katie War Bonnett, in 1892. She became a Catholic, and all three of their children were baptized as Catholic. After her death in 1903, he too became baptized, taking the name Nicholas Black Elk, and continued to serve as a spiritual leader among his people, seeing no contradiction in embracing what he found valid in both his tribal traditions concerning Wakan Tanka, and those of Christianity.
He remarried in 1905 to Anna Brings White, a widow with two daughters. She bore him three more children, and remained his wife until she died in 1941.
Towards the end of his life, he revealed the story of his life, and a number of sacred Sioux rituals to John Neihardt and Joseph Epes Brown for publication (The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (1953) (as told to Joseph Epes Brown) , and his accounts have won wide interest and acclaim. He also claimed to have had several visions in which he met the spirit that guided the universe.
Books about Black Elk, emphasizing his Catholicism:
Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala, Michael Steltenkamp
Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism, Damian Costello
The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (1953) (as told to Joseph Epes Brown)