Black Elk lives: conversations with the Black Elk family by Esther Black Elk DeSersa, Aaron DeSersa Jr., Clifton

By Esther Black Elk DeSersa, Aaron DeSersa Jr., Clifton DeSersa, Olivia Black Elk Pourier, Lori Holm Utecht, Hilda Martinsen Neihardt, Charles Trimble

The tale and teachings of Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950), first recorded via John G. Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks, have performed a severe function in shaping the way local american citizens and others view the previous, current, and way forward for Native America. those conversations with the descendents of Black Elk provide an intimate examine existence at the Pine Ridge Reservation and clean views at the spiritual, monetary, and political possibilities and demanding situations dealing with the Lakota buyers. as well as revealing extra approximately Black Elk the healer, the relatives additionally presents glimpses of Black Elk as a family members guy, instructor, and influential ancestor.

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I don’t know if the rest of the Indians believe that, but we do in our family, because of my granddad. He’s the one who told us these things so we could understand. I mentioned it one time to a lady at a meeting, and she told me, ‘‘Yeah, we do, too. ’’     So that’s why my dad went to look for my brother, his son—to follow wherever my brother went, and to call him. ’’ Wherever my brother went, our father backtracked. About four days in the Black Hills he traveled all over, with a blanket on his saddle on the horse.

There would be a long rain, four or five days of rain. Ch nákpa is a big mushroom up on the elm trees. We used to take sticks and knock them down. O: You have to catch those at a certain time, too, otherwise they’re buggy. They have little grooves, and you have to wash them. If you catch them at the right time, you don’t have to do that. You take it and put it in flour and fry it. Man! You couldn’t get enough of that! It’s so good! E: When they made jerky, they would pound it, and they had it in a piece of hide.

When I was in Sweden, there were about forty cars, caravans. They were all Indians, all dressed. I found out that European people know more about us Indians than the people in the States. They study us. They study our culture; they study our history right from the start, from the schools. Well, we don’t here. I went to Washington , on education. I brought that up. Bobby Kennedy was alive. First time I ever saw him, I said, ‘‘You know, the white man should study us, so that we know each other better.

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