Donate Online
Logo of Native American Aid
The NAA Way  
Living Conditions  
How to Help  
 History & Culture  
American Horse -     
Amos Bad Heart Bull -     
Ben Nighthorse Campbell -     
Big Foot -     
Black Elk -     
Crazy Horse -     
Dull Knife -     
Francis La Flesche -     
G. Simmons Bonnin -     
Little Wolf -     
Oscar Howe -     
Plenty Coups -     
Red Cloud -     
R. Eugene Megginson -     
Sacajawa -     
Sitting Bull -     
Spotted Tail -     
Standing Bear -     
Susan La Flesche -     
Susette La Flesche -     
Washakie -     
Site Map  
IRS Form 990  


Not a member?
Join today >>

Forgot password?

We are a BBB-accredited charity
Member of DMA
Strong, Self-Sufficient Native American Communities

Biographies of Notable Native Americans
Black Elk - 1863-1950

One of the most studied and written about Native Americans, Black Elk was an Oglala Lakota holy man. His story was first told in John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks, a book-length poem published in 1932. Neihardt tells Black Elk’s story from his childhood through the 1890s.

Black Elk claims to have been at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His story tells of the time after the battle when his people were forced to live on reservations, the impoverishment and what it was like living as prisoners on their own land. He describes the brief period of hope when the Ghost Dance religion emerged before the massacre at Wounded Knee.

In 1886 Black Elk joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show and toured eastern cities and even Europe.

His life after 1900 is recounted by Michael Steltenkamp’s Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala. Steltenkamp, a Jesuit, says that Black Elk became a Catholic missionary. He says that Lucy Looks Twice, Black Elk’s daughter, told him of the conversion. She says that her father traveled with the Jesuits and helped convert Arapahoes, Winnebagos, Omahas and others. He even went on fundraising trips to eastern cities.

In later years he combined his missionary work with showmanship at various tourist attractions in South Dakota, using his reputation as a Lakota holy man to draw visitors. Steltenkamp says Black Elk found no contradiction in his traditional Lakota religion and Catholicism. Black Elk died in 1950 on a night when the Pine Ridge area experienced a meteor shower. Black Elk made a prediction earlier in his life that lights in the sky would accompany his death.

return to top

A program of Partnership With Native Americans
Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 47-3730147
© 2022 Native American Aid

Contact Information:
2401 Eglin St.
Rapid City, SD 57703
Toll-free: (877) 825-2983
Web site:

Privacy Policy
Donate your car, truck, boat, or RV through Cars4Causes
Shop, Search, Save - through Benefit Bar - proceeds benefit NAA
Return to Home page Link to -->