- A. Kristen Foster
Black Elk ( December 1863–19 August 1950), Lakota holy man, was born on the Little Powder River (probably within the present-day borders of Wyoming), the son of Black Elk, a Lakota medicine man, and Mary Leggins Down (also called White Cow Sees). Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota, was raised in Big Road’s Band, which lived and hunted in the territory west of the Black Hills through which white settlers blazed the Bozeman Trail in 1864. When he was only nine, Black Elk experienced a vision that would eventually give him distinction among his people: he was visited by Thunder-beings, which embodied the powers of the West and heralded his gift to cure and help his people in war. In 1877, after losing the cultural clash west of the Black Hills, the Oglala bands relocated to the Great Sioux Reservation in present-day South Dakota, and Black Elk’s people fled to Canada after ...