Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Black Elk's Vision, A Lakota Story by S. D. Nelson

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Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers  in 2010, 56 pages, for ages 9-12,
History, Native American,

This book was borrowed from the library for the purpose of reading/reviewing.

Black Elk was the cousin of Crazy Horse. Black Elk was born in 1863, he was Oglala Sioux.
This book was originally published in 1932, it has been re-released in 2010. The book is told from the words of Black Elk; he speaks about his life before his people were made to live on the reservation and about his life afterwards. The book is most famous for his special visions, he started having visions as a boy. Black Elk was involved in the battles of Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee. Later he would travel with the Buffalo Bill Wild west show, traveling across America and even across the ocean to Europe. He eventually settled on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The book has photograph's as well as acrylic and black charcoal pictures. The illustrations were what caught my eye in the library--they are beautiful.
Black Elk's story is fascinating and yet tragic. It is fascinating in that this world--his world of the Native American's is so far removed from my Caucasian life. They treated the land and environment with respect, they did not misuse any animal for their own sport. The buffalo was hunted and all of the buffalo carcass was used, nothing was wasted. His story is tragic in that this group of people and what they went through was injustice and incomprehensible. I have thought about how often with people groups like African American's, or Native American's, or other groups have been branded as (non white and thus not human). In thinking they were not human or sub-human there was justification in abusing them or wiping them out. This is the same thinking that the Nazi's believed that the Jews were not people that were valid, they were sub-human and thus expendable and even annihilated.
I loved this book! It is an awesome book for use in the classroom---teaching and discussion would be paramount.

Following picture is of Black Elk and his wife and daughter, the late 1800's. He died in 1950.

Blissful Reading!

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