Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2010


Great Plains Quarterly 30:4 (Fall 2010).


Copyright © 2010 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska.


In Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic, Michael Steltenkamp explains that because of his chance acquaintance with Black Elk's daughter, Lucy Looks Twice, who "wanted people to know about his [Black Elk's] life as a catechist, I became the biographer of his life in the twentieth century." The author claims that his earlier book, Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala (1993), which reports Lucy's version of her father's life, "showed how this otherwise stereo typically Plains Indian medicine man assumed a Christian identity, and how this was the religious legacy for which he was most remembered within his reservation community." He further claims that this earlier book belongs in the company of two other books presenting Black Elk's "legacy" to the world, Black Elk Speaks and The Sacred Pipe, Black Elk's collaborations with, respectively, John G. Neihardt (1932) and Joseph Epes Brown (1953), so that his own book in 1993 "completed a trilogy of portraits."