Black Elk’s Vision
A Lakota Story by S. D. Nelson
Told from the Native American point of view, "Black Elk's Vision" provides a unique perspective on American history. From recounting the visions Black Elk had as a young boy, to his involvement in the battles of Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee, as well as his journeys to New York City and Europe with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, this biographical account of Black Elk--an Oglala-Lakota medicine man (1863-1950)--follows him from childhood through adulthood. S. D. Nelson tells the story of Black Elk through the medicine man's voice, bringing to life what it was like to be Native American in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The Native people found their land overrun by the Wha-shi-choos, or White Man, the buffalo slaughtered for sport and to purposely eliminate their main food source, and their people gathered onto reservations. Through it all, Black Elk clung to his childhood visions that planted the seeds to help his people--and all people--understand their place in the circle of life. (from publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers)

Show this video clip "The Last of the Sioux" (3:48 minutes)
Young Black Elk witnesses the coming of the railroad and the destruction of the buffalo herds. He lives through the battles of Little Big Horn and witnesses the massacre at Wounded Knee.

Read aloud the book and then play the audio clip below

S. D. Nelson introduces Black Elk's Vision and reads an excerpt
audio clip (2:18 minute long)

Visit the author's website and read his full biography S. D. Nelson He is member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of the Dakotas and includes photos of his Sioux grandparents

Read an Author Interview by School Library Journal for some great insight into how this book came to be written.

Read a different version of Black Elk's Vision (retold by Mother Earth Spirituality)

Black Elk Biographical information (New World Encyclopedia) Read about the life of Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe.



Kids and grown ups have always been fascinated by Buffaloes.
Watch this brief video to see how the buffalo was an essential part of Native American life and used in everything from religious rituals to teepee construction. (1:52 minutes)

What happened to the buffalo?

When the railroad was constructed, it led to a near-extinction of the buffalo. Buffalo were a very important part of Lakota life. Buffalo provided food, clothing, and housing for native people.(2:52 minute)

Black Elk Resources

Black Elk's Prayer a poem by Glen Avalon

Black Elk Speaks-Colorado State University graduate research project by Mark Sanchez

Black Elk's Vision excerpt of book posted by Manataka American Indian Council

**Black Elk Quotes** Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, 1863-1950 (

Research the Lakota (Sioux) tribe and learn more about their history, customs, and traditions.

Invite a Guest Speaker

We have invited our friends Larry Running Turtle Salazar, Ernest Gray Wolf Salazar, and some of their friends to come and demonstrate a spiritual drum circle with our students. ECDC students are learning about Ingenious people in honor of American Indian Heritage Month.

View Channel 3's video of ECDC Spiritual Drum Circle

The drum is blessed before the Spiritual Drum Circle begins.


This drum song is for soldiers who go off to fight battles and die. It is a song to call
their spirits home.


Mr. Ernest Gray Wolf Salazar made Principal Dr. Susan Luis honorary "Chief of the Day"


Mr. Salazar shows some of his artifacts-here is a bobcat hide.


Below is a YouTube video of the same type of spiritual drum circle that was presented at Texas A&M-CC during the parade of Nations.

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Thank you for the education resources**
S. D. Nelson
Abrams Books for Young Readers
School Library Journal
Larry Running Turtle Salazar
Ernest Gray Wolf Salazar
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Glen Avalon
Mark Sanchez
Mantaka American Indian Council
New World Encyclopedia
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on