Friday, March 16, 2007

#11



And I, to whom a great vision was given in my youth,-you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.
Black Elk Speaks made me terribly sad, but it is a beautiful book. Inside are eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Little Bighorn and the massacre at Wounded Knee. Also inside are Black Elk's monumental shamanic experiences. He was vested with great power and nonetheless saw his people fade away, overrun by the greedy and false Wasichu. The descriptions of his visions are quite interesting for anyone interested in symbolique or altered states of consciousness or spirituality, and its value as a historic document of Native American culture and tradition--and the genocidal campaign to wipe these peoples out--is obvious.

4 comments:

Seth Anderson said...

I read this years ago, and it made me cry. I'm adding back to my 'books to buy' list (as finding my original copy is undoubtedly a lost cause).

geoff said...

A good book to have around the house, indeed. Powerful tear-jerking medicine, but there are some funny stories too. I think it was Standing Bear who tells one about courting a woman and trying to kidnap her from her parents' teepee.

Nick said...

Tien has this but I've yet to read it. Did you see that thing about the glass floor horseshoe Buzz Aldrin Hualapai skywalk over the Grand Camyon? Actually it sounds very cool.

geoff said...

My mom was fired up about the Indians "ruining" the Grand Canyon with their walkway. I suppose she'd prefer a Motel 6, a Taco Bell, and a Jiffy Lube there on the canyon's lip. White people never ruin a landscape, after all.