History 605: S2, Ep 18: Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary.
What makes someone holy? That was Joe Jackson’s question as he researched and wrote this recent biography of Black Elk, the Lakota wicasa wakan or holy man. Black Elk’s fascinating life includes combat at Little Big Horn, escaping to Canada, coming back to the United States, fighting off soldiers at Wounded Knee, touring with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, returning to Pine Ridge, becoming a Catholic teacher, and then his famous conversations with poet John Neihardt about his vision and their climb up to the top of the peak that now bears his name. I hope you enjoy our discussion of Joe Jackson’s book, Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary.