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Black Elk Speaks

             Black Elk was a great healer and visionary to his Lakota people, and during his life he did many great things to try and bring peace to his people. In my opinion, the three most significant events in Black Elk's life are; when he has his first great vision that plays a role throughout his life, when he uses his healing powers for the first time, and when he witnesses the results of the massacre at Wounded Knee.
             At the young age of nine, Black Elk had a vision that would follow him throughout his life, and he believed it was this vision that gave him his power. It was a very long, detailed vision that included a meeting with the six grandfathers who represented the six powers of the world. Although too young at the time to fully understand the exact meaning, it was in this meeting that Black Elk was given the powers and the knowledge to help his people against the "Wasichus" who wanted to take over his peoples" land. In his vision, he also saw his people going through great suffering, and he saw the nation's sacred hoop broken. It was not until Black Elk performed the Horse Dance that his powers came to their full strength.
             (Neihardt 16-36).
             As Black Elk grew up, and the struggle against the Wasichus intensified, his powers became stronger and manifested themselves in different ways, such as sensing trouble. His people realized that Black Elk had a gift, but he never told them of his vision. The six powers had given Black Elk the tremendous responsibility of saving his people. Black Elk felt inadequate for the task, and often times questioned why it had not been given to someone more worthy than himself. Although he had these feelings and doubts about himself, he drew upon powers from his vision time and time again to help his people with their struggle, and had even been given the power to heal.
             The second most significant even occurred when Black Elk was nineteen years old; he healed his first person.

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