Black  Elk  

By Kristen Lee


Do you know who Black Elk is? He is a Native American and Notable Nebraskan. He tried to help the natives by fighting in the Indian Wars. Black Elk was related to more famous Notables like Crazy Horse. Black Elk has lived quite the life from fighting to traveling with Buffalo Bill. If you are ready to take the plunge and travel back in time to live like this Ogallala Sioux did, continue with this photo essay.

Early  Life

Black Elk was a very important Native American. A notable Nebraskan as well. He was born in modern day South Dakota in 1863. The name Black Elk must have been popular in his family because, he was the 4th in his family to have this name! Crazy Horse is Black Elk’s 2nd cousin. He also has relation to Red Cloud. Both Black Elk and his 2nd cousin were members of the Ogallala Sioux. Black Elk favored fishing, riding horses, and watching the hunts. One time, he fell off his horse into cacti! It took his mom hours to pick them out! When he went to a bed one night, he had a vision which later influenced him. He was young when he fought in the Indian Wars. He also fought with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

South Dakota, not zoomed in

Adult  Life

Congratulations! You made it through the early life of Black Elk. In late 1881 he moved to the Pine ridge reservation. Black Elk soon after travled with Buffalo Bill Cody in Europe to learn about the white’s power. After came he came back, he soon got married. A while after, Black Elk had a daughter named Lucy. You remember his vision, right? That vision caused him to devote his life to be medicine man like his father before him. Black Elk told his life story to John Neihardt resulting in Black Elk Speaks witch people all over still read today. By then he was almost blind. A fall in 1948 hurt him and as a result, he died two years later.

Black Elk's wife and daughter getting ready for church


You’ve heard of some of his accomplishments in his life story already. Can you guess what they are? The first is traveling with Buffalo Bill Cody showing the wonders of the new world. Black Elk fought the white in the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Battle of Little Big Horn. He devoted his life to be medicine man. This would be very hard for someone of his religion to do, convert to a catholic. Black Elk has a biography and also help create a book about his tribe’s traditions. He was an Indian leader(NOT Chief) Black Elk mastered being a catholic and his own religion. One other accomplishment is he has an elementary school named after him.

Buffalo Bill Cody, Black Elk's boss/friend


Black Elk did many great things like travel with Buffalo Bill and fight in the Indian wars. By converting to the catholic religion, he helped encourage his people because, the United States wouldn't let them practice their religion. Black Elk has left his mark on the world in many ways like having an elementary school named after him, and his book continues teaching young and old people about him and his tribe. I hope you now know more about Black Elk, the Notable Nebraskan.


  • "Black Elk." (2005): Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson). Web. 12 Mar. 2015
  • "Black Elk." Fact Monster. Pearson Education, 2000. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <>.
  • A&E Telivision Netw, n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.
  • Lukesh, Jean A. The Nebraska Adventure Book. Layton: Gibbs Smith, 2005. Print