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 Black Elk Speaks

as told to John G. Neihardt

"It was during August, 1930, that I first met Black Elk. I was then working on The Song of the Messiah, which now stands as the fifth and final narrative poem in my Cycle of the West. This song is concerned with what white men have called the 'Messiah craze'—the great Messianic dream that came to the desperate Indians in the middle 80's of the 19th century and ended with the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on December 29, 1890.

"With my son, Sigrud, I had gone to Pine Ridge Reservation for the purpose of finding some old medicine man who had been active in the Messiah Movement and who might somehow be induced to talk to me about the deeper spiritual significance of the matter...." -- John Neihardt