“Black Elk-Medicine Man”
Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, was born December 1, 1863 and died August 19, 1950. He lived in the present day United States and was a second cousin to the war chief Crazy Horse. He came from a long line of medicine men and healers. He was well known for his great healing abilities.
In 1887, Black Elk traveled over to England with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and there performed for Queen Victoria. He called her “Grandmother England.” When the ship returned to the United States, they left Black Elk and several comrades standing on the pier. They then joined another western show there and spent the next year touring. He returned to the United States in May of 1889.
In 1890 Black Elk took part in the fighting at Wounded Knee, charging the soldiers and helping some of his friends that were wounded. He was wounded in the hip in that battle.
Black Elk has been so well thought of that recently Harmon Peak, the highest natural point in South Dakota, was re-named Black elk Peak. That peak is 3.7 miles west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. It is known as Hinhan Kaga (in Lakota) or “Owl Maker”, after rock formations that look like owls. The Lakota Sioux considered it a sacred site within the Black Hills.
In 1892 Black Elk converted to Christianity and it changed his life dramatically, even having a “white man’s” home he lived in with his wife Anna and daughter Lucy. In his last testament before his death, Black elk stated, “Christ commanded us to be humble and He taught us to stop sin….Now I despise sin.” He further stated, “With a good heart I shake hands with all of you.”
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