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Extra resources for CliffsNotes Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks
At these times, Black Elk often says he feels “queer” (disconnected from the present reality) and longs to be in the world of his vision. Whirlwind Chaser recognizes Black Elk as someone who participated in the sacred, however, and alerts his parents, using language similar to the Grandfathers’ language in Black Elk’s vision. The adults marked the child’s destiny and nurtured his special gift. The acknowledgment of intuitive or extrasensory experience is an outstanding aspect of Indian culture.
It is significant that the white man’s greed for gold and ownership of the land occasions the fall from harmony into disorder. Black Elk calls the white man Wasichu, which Neihardt’s footnote explains is not a reference to skin color. The white man’s obsession with gold is the root of the terrible dislocation of Indian culture and the destruction of the land. In order to mine the gold, the white men wanted to build a road through Indian country and, although they claimed they needed only a strip of land as wide as a wagon, it is clear that they wanted as much as they could get.
To this end, he engaged a newspaper reporter to accompany him. S. Government, but, without adequate information, he led his own men into a battle that they could not possibly survive, purely to further his personal ambitions. It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Indians, of whom 4,000 were warriors, gathered near the Little Big Horn River, in what is now Montana, to meet with Sitting Bull. The encampment included Lakota bands (Oglalas, Brules, Sans Arcs, Minneconjous, and Hunkpapas) as well as Cheyenne and Blackfeet.
CliffsNotes Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks by Diane Prenatt