Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story

S. D. Nelson, Author . Abrams $19.95 (47p) ISBN 978-0-8109-8399-1

Nelson (Coyote Christmas ) returns with his highly stylized paintings and trademark primary-colored horses in this tale about Black Elk, a Sioux medicine man at the turn of the 19th century. The author, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, imagines Black Elk's first-person account of Native American life as the Wha-shi-choos (white people) bring trains and forts to the Great Plains and slaughter buffalo by the thousands (“They made lines on our land with their wagon roads and their iron rails”). Anchoring the story are spreads detailing Black Elk's vision when he was nine. In it, “the Powers of the World” teach that each person “must choose to walk with the water of life or the weapon of destruction.” The illustrations' naïve, flat style mutes some of the more graphic events (speared and bloodied fighters and horses are seen at the Battle of the Little Bighorn). Archival photos round out this poignant history lesson, and author notes contextualize the meaning of Black Elk's vision within Native philosophy. A time line of European exploration and western settlement and select Indian War conflicts is included. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/15/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 56 pages - 978-1-4197-1528-0
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