Quotes From Black Elk

Black Elk

Towards the end of his life, Black Elk revealed the story of his life, and a number of sacred Sioux rituals to John Neihardt and Joseph Epes Brown for publication. Black Elk's accounts have won wide interest and acclaim. Black Elk also claimed to have had several visions in which he met the spirit that guided the universe.

Quotes from Black Elk

A good nation I will make live.

-Black Elk

After the horse dance was over, it seemed that I was above the ground and did not touch it when I walked.

-Black Elk

Also, as I lay there thinking of my vision, I could see it all again and feel the meaning with a part of me like a strange power glowing in my body; but when the part of me that talks would try to make words for the meaning, it would be like fog and get away from me.

-Black Elk

And as he spoke of understanding, I looked up and saw the rainbow leap with flames of many colors over me.

-Black Elk

And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.

-Black Elk

And if the great fear had not come upon me, as it did, and forced me to do my duty, I might have been less good to the people than some man who had never dreamed at all, even with the memory of so great a vision in me.

-Black Elk

And when I breathed, my breath was lightning.

-Black Elk

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

-Black Elk

But I think I have done right to save the vision in this way, even though I may die sooner because I did it; for I know the meaning of the vision is wise and beautiful and good; and you can see that I am only a pitiful old man after all.

-Black Elk

Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice.

-Black Elk

Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.

-Black Elk

I cured with the power that came through me.

-Black Elk

I had a vision with which I might have saved my people, but I had not the strength to do it.

-Black Elk

I know now what this meant, that the bison were the gift of a good spirit and were our strength, but we should lose them, and from the same good spirit we must find another strength.

-Black Elk

I looked about me once again, and suddenly the dancing horses without number changed into animals of every kind and into all the fowls that are, and these fled back to the four quarters of the world from whence the horses came, and vanished.

-Black Elk

I looked below and saw my people there, and all were well and happy except one, and he was lying like the dead - and that one was myself.

-Black Elk

I think I have told you, but if I have not, you must have understood, that a man who has a vision is not able to use the power of it until after he has performed the vision on earth for the people to see.

-Black Elk

I was four years old then, and I think it must have been the next summer that I first heard the voices.

-Black Elk

If you will read again what is written, you will see how it was.

-Black Elk

My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow?

-Black Elk

Now suddenly there was nothing but a world of cloud, and we three were there alone in the middle of a great white plain with snowy hills and mountains staring at us; and it was very still; but there were whispers.

-Black Elk

So I took the bright red stick and at the center of the nation's hoop I thrust it in the earth.

-Black Elk

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.

-Black Elk

The boys of my people began very young to learn the ways of men, and no one taught us; we just learned by doing what we saw, and we were warriors at a time when boys now are like girls.

-Black Elk

The soldiers did go away and their towns were torn down; and in the Moon of Falling Leaves (November), they made a treaty with Red Cloud that said our country would be ours as long as grass should grow and water flow.

-Black Elk

There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.

-Black Elk

They told me I had been sick twelve days, lying like dead all the while, and that Whirlwind Chaser, who was Standing Bear's uncle and a medicine man, had brought me back to life.

-Black Elk

To use the power of the bison, I had to perform that part of my vision for the people to see.

-Black Elk

When I got back to my father and mother and was sitting up there in our tepee, my face was still all puffed and my legs and arms were badly swollen; but I felt good all over and wanted to get right up and run around.

-Black Elk

You remember that my great vision came to me when I was only nine years old, and you have seen that I was not much good for anything until after I had performed the horse dance near the mouth of the Tongue River during my eighteenth summer.

-Black Elk

You see, I had been riding with the storm clouds, and had come to earth as rain, and it was drought that I had killed with the power that the Six Grandfathers gave me.

-Black Elk

The Great Spirit is everywhere; he hears whatever is in our minds and our hearts, and it is not necessary to speak to Him in a loud voice.

-Black Elk

"...all the wings of the air shall come to you, and they and the winds and the stars shall be like relatives.

-Black Elk

There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.

-Black Elk

And when I breathed, my breath was lightning.

-Black Elk

(Black Elk speaks of the deceased Crazy Horse.) It does not matter where his body lies; there the grass is growing... but where his Spirit lies, that would be a good place to be.

-Black Elk

It is good to have a reminder of death before us, for it helps us to understand the impermanence of life on this earth, and this understanding may aid us in preparing for our own death. He who is well prepared is he who knows that he is nothing compared with Wakan-Tanka who is everything; then he knows that world which is real.

-Black Elk

I think I have told you, but if I have not, you must have understood, that a man who has a vision is not able to use the power of it until after he has performed the vision on earth for the people to see.

-Black Elk

I was ten years old that winter, and that was the first time I ever saw a Wasichu (white man). At first I thought they all looked sick, and I was afraid they might just begin to fight us any time, but I got used to them.

-Black Elk

The Sun, the Light of the world. I hear him coming. I see his face as he comes. He makes the beings on earth happy and they rejoice. O, Wakan Tanka, I offer to You this world of Light."

-Black Elk

Nicholas Black Elk [Hehaka Sapa] (c. December 1863 – 17 August or 19 August 1950) was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) and Heyoka of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He participated at about the age of twelve in the Battle of Little Big H
Nicholas Black Elk [Hehaka Sapa] (c. December 1863 – 17 August or 19 August 1950) was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) and Heyoka of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He participated at about the age of twelve in the Battle of Little Big H

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Comments 15 comments

jjrubio 7 years ago

"PILAMAYA" what a wonderful tribute of quotes from such a wise man....

Good hub!


The Real Tomato profile image

The Real Tomato 7 years ago

"There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men. "

His words are so relavent today. I like this Hub.


Latrelle Ross 7 years ago

Beautiful! Thanks for this :)


St.James profile image

St.James 7 years ago from Lurking Around Florida Author

Thank you JJ, TRT, and Latrelle,

I just wanted to bring attention to the words and wisdom of a man that may one day be forgotten through the course of time.


Sibli Luaxessna profile image

Sibli Luaxessna 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Hello :) Thank you for bringing it to HUB

*hugs*

Sib


St.James profile image

St.James 7 years ago from Lurking Around Florida Author

Thank you for taking the time to stop by Sib. His words hold just as true today.


Uriel profile image

Uriel 7 years ago from Lebanon

Great Collection..thanks for sharing :D


St.James profile image

St.James 7 years ago from Lurking Around Florida Author

Thank very much Uriel!


rongould profile image

rongould 7 years ago

I always have to wonder what the Spanish missionaries were thinking when I hear or read such words of wisdom. They considered the Native Americans "uncivilized and ignorant" and set out to civilize them. I know that Black Elk was after their time, but he conveys a reverence for the Great Spirit that many of the missionaries did not seem to have. What a loss if we do not learn the lessons from our ancestors, regardless of whether they are direct in lineage or not.

I found that I am descended from the Lakota about five generations back and also find I have an affinity for their wisdom. Each generation has less and less of this wisdom to draw from and we are less because of it.


St.James profile image

St.James 7 years ago from Lurking Around Florida Author

The Native people taught harmony, and peace of their surroundings. The Europeans, and we the disendents today talk about God... but we fight and kill in God's name.

Strangely enough I find it odd that no one really fights battles on the side of the Devil, but both opposing side will fight against each other for the cause of God.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Thought provoking and enjoyable reading thanks for sharing


electricsky profile image

electricsky 6 years ago from North Georgia

Thank you for sharing Black Elk's writings. I see he was a prolific author. In my family we think my own grandmother was either Indian or Cuban Indian.

More people should read him, as he doesn't seem as bitter as I would be if white man took my nation. I have never seen an Indian smile, too much anyway.


ed77burns 5 years ago

Hub seems to be of great info.


Rita F. Monias 5 years ago

It is those whose who speak and act from their hearts and souls that lead their nation to its beheld destiny and spoken with wisdom, believe and faith shall the Creator grant the wishes of those who seek his help.


RunAbstract profile image

RunAbstract 5 years ago from USA

Beautiful, wise, and even sad. Wonderful quotes. Thank you for these!

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