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Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition
This page has details on “Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition”
Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition
Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition
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American Indian

Price:  $19.95

ISBN:  978-1-936597-60-4
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  256
Language:  English



A description of “Black Elk, Lakota Visionary”
Black Elk Speaks is the most widely-read Native American testimony of the last century and a key work in our understanding of American Indian traditions. In Black Elk, Lakota Visionary, Oldmeadow draws on recently discovered sources to present a major re-assessment of Black Elk’s life and work. Oldmeadow’s lively and readable account explores the holy man’s mystical visions, his controversial engagement with Catholicism, and his attempts to preserve and revive ancestral Sioux beliefs and practices.
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Details on “Black Elk, Lakota Visionary”

Black Elk (1863-1950), the Lakota holy man, is beloved by millions of readers around the world. The book Black Elk Speaks is the most widely-read Native American testimony of the last century and a key work in our understanding of American Indian traditions. In Black Elk, Lakota Visionary, Harry Oldmeadow draws on recently discovered sources and in-depth research to provide a major re-assessment of Black Elk’s life and work. The author explores Black Elk’s mystical visions, his controversial engagement with Catholicism, and his previously unrecognized attempts to preserve and revive ancestral Sioux beliefs and practices. Oldmeadow’s lively and highly readable account also examines the controversies that have surrounded Black Elk and his collaborators, John G. Neihardt and Joseph Epes Brown. Oldmeadow judiciously explains why both Black Elk Speaks and The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux are to be ranked amongst the most profound spiritual documents of the twentieth century. Black Elk, Lakota Visionary will command the attention of every reader who is interested in the American Indians, providing fascinating insights into their ancestral traditions prior to the reservation era, the subsequent destruction and revival of their traditional ways, and the vital lessons which the contemporary world might draw from their spiritual legacy.

About the author, and the writer of the Foreword

Harry Oldmeadow

Harry Oldmeadow was co-ordinator of Philosophy and Religious Studies at La Trobe University in Australia and author of the acclaimed Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy (2000), an authoritative introduction to the perspective of Perennialism. Prof. Oldmeadow's contributions to World Wisdom books & DVDs includes:
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Charles Trimble

Charles “Chuck” Trimble is an American Indian author, journalist, and advocate, and a national leader in Indian affairs. He has written the Foreword to two World Wisdom books: An illustrated edition of Charles Eastman’s Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing (June 2016), and, most recently, an abridged and illustrated edition of Frances Densmore’s Teton Sioux Music, retitled World of the Teton Sioux Indians: Their Music, Life, and Culture. He is also contributing a Foreword to the upcoming book Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition (forthcoming, April 2018), by Harry Oldmeadow. Mr. Trimble is the author of the book Iveska (Dog Ear Publishing, 2012), a collection of his own memories of his childhood and life, as well as reflections on matters of interest to those who follow American Indian affairs. Charles Trimble was born and reared on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Charles was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2013 and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He is now retired and lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife, Anne.

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Reviews of “Black Elk, Lakota Visionary”

“[Harry] Oldmeadow (The Betrayal of Tradition) skillfully considers the legacy of Black Elk (1863–1950), a Lakota holy man who is best known through poet John Neihardt’s 1932 biography Black Elk Speaks. Oldmeadow balances contemporary research with presentations of the debate about the facts of Black Elk’s life and legacy, including his working relationships with non-Native collaborators who documented his words. The bulk concerns three figures: Neihardt, who had a ‘creative and editorial’ role in Black Elk’s biography; scholar Joseph Epes Brown, who wrote about Native American rituals in his 1947 book The Sacred Pipe; and Frithjof Schuon, a scholar and mentor to Brown whose work explores the ‘polysynthetic animism’ of Native American spirituality. Oldmeadow addresses and largely dismisses criticisms in current scholarship about the impact of the non-Native lens, such as the encouragement of the romantic image of the noble savage and the omission, misinterpretation, and misuse of Black Elk’s ‘dual participation’ in Catholicism. For Oldmeadow, despite their own outsider worldviews, much of what was problematic about the collaborators (their connection to publishing houses, their Christian background) ingratiated them to Black Elk, and his descendants who saw the collaborators as colleagues and preservers. Readers interested in Black Elk will find this book an effective synthesis of the scholarship on the mystic’s life.”
Publishers Weekly



Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Ogala Holy Man & Sioux Tradition is an in-depth biographical scrutiny of the life and work of Black Elk (1863-1950), a famous medicine man and holy man of the Ogala Lakota Native American tribe. Chapters explore Black Elk's legacy, especially the book Black Elk Speaks (which is the most widely-read Native American testimonial of the last century), his mystical visions, his controversial perspective of Catholicism, and his lifelong efforts to preserve and revive traditional Sioux beliefs and practices. An index of photographic plates, an extensive list of sources, and an index round out this studious, extensively researched and analytically presented account, highly recommended especially for public and college library Native American Studies shelves.”
Library Bookwatch, a publication of Midwest Book Review



“Black Elk stands out in bold relief. The dazzling clarity of his visions has incited the spiritually minded everywhere. Thank you Harry Oldmeadow for bringing us closer to the heart of Black Elk and his universal vision.”
— Kevin Locke, Lakota cultural ambassador, hoop-dancer, traditional storyteller, recording artist, and educator



“There have been many books written about the Lakota holy man known to the world as Black Elk. However, none have done a more thorough job of assessing the entirety of his life—including his far from naïve engagement with Catholicism—than this extremely readable volume by Harry Oldmeadow. I recommend it to anyone interested not only in Black Elk himself but in the stubbornly enduring nature of Native American spiritual life.”
—Joseph Bruchac, author of Keepers of the Earth and Our Stories Remember



“This is an extraordinary book. Oldmeadow’s groundbreaking interpretation takes Black Elk studies to a profound new level. His nuanced analysis weaves together the many distinctive strands into a cohesive whole—one that forms a particularly rich and intimate perspective on the place of Black Elk across disciplines. Black Elk, Lakota Visionary truly completes the hoop and creates a depth and dimensionality that leap off the page.”
—Wilhelm K. Meya, Executive Director, Lakota Language Consortium “



“This detailed study of Black Elk explores the complex relationships that this sacred healer had with John Neihardt, Joseph Brown, and Frithjof Schuon. Oldmeadow describes the intertwined lives of these men and their controversial collaborations with respect and insight.”
—John A. Grim, Yale University, author of The Shaman: Patterns of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway Indians



“A significant contribution to the Black Elk literature. Especially valuable for new information on Joseph Epes Brown and the composition of The Sacred Pipe.”
—Clyde Holler, author of Black Elk’s Religion: The Sun Dance and Lakota Catholicism and editor of The Black Elk Reader



Black Elk, Lakota Visionary studies the debate among scholarly specialists as they reconstruct the history behind the life story and Great Vision of the wicasa wakan. Their exchange of views is counterbalanced by an examination of Lakota spirituality in relationship to Western and Eastern religious traditions. Exposure to this discourse will inspire the reader to appreciate the universality of tradition and revelation in Lakota ancestral wisdom and one’s place in a world of order with beauty and meaning.”
—Vivian Arviso Deloria, former Executive Director of Education for the Navajo Nation and Chairperson of the Navajo Nation Women’s Commission



Black Elk, Lakota Visionary is a wonderful addition to understanding this Oglala holy man’s significance in both Native American and United States history. Harry Oldmeadow uses new sources to reassess Black Elk’s life, impact, and the controversies with John G. Neihardt, Joseph Epes Brown, and his adoption of Catholicism.… Oldmeadow demonstrates how the views of Frithjof Schuon, the pre-eminent Perennialist philosopher, offer a better understanding of Black Elk. All students of Native American history and of Black Elk should be required to read this valuable contribution to the literature.”
—Raymond Wilson, Fort Hays State University, author of Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux and Native Americans in the Twentieth Century



“Harry Oldmeadow brings together in one volume information that comes from specialists in cultural anthropology as well as rich insights into the human condition from scholars like Mircea Eliade and Frithjof Schuon. Building upon this background, Oldmeadow explores the cultural legacy of Black Elk and the Sioux people. He does so using ordinary language which enables the reader to grasp the rich vision of this holy man and his world.”
—Richard Davies, Culver Academies, author of Swords at Culver



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