Nicholas Black Elk, Holy man for the Lakota nation, allowed John Neihardt to record his life story: a historical account of the lifestyle and culture of his people. This he also did to preserve his visions and to keep his memory from disappearing. His testimony reveals his unpleasant encounters with the Americans during the Indian Wars. He recounts when they slaughtered the buffalo, took their land, destroyed their culture, and relocated them to reservations. These greedy actions were becoming bloodier as Americans attempted to "conquered the frontier- through such disgraceful actions as lying, stealing, and violence. Black Elk learned growing up that these traits (of a liar, thief, and violent) are the characteristics of a Wasichu (American). He held on to those beliefs before going to the reservation, but after his move, as he made more relationships with Americans, and his understanding of what Americans are became much more complex. .
The greed that Americans had for the land was new and harmful to Black Elk and the Lakotas. His people were used to living off the land, and taking only what they needed from it. For example, when they killed a buffalo, they would use the fur for warmth; hide for clothing, shelter, and shoes; bones for tools; and the meat and organs for food. The Americans, on the other hand, were more destructive to the environment. For example, they would kill the buffalo for the purposes of trade and to starve-out the Indians, not to use the buffalo for their full benefit. While the Lakotas cherished the environment so much, it was hard for them to understand the white man's waste. In fact, the Americans proved to care more about themselves and their own desires than for the people and land they were destroying. Therefore, the Lakotas did not have respect for what the Americans did or said.
Furthermore, even though the Indians were the rightful residents of the entire country, the "Americans- came and stole it from them.