Get Your Free Audiobook

Black Elk Speaks

Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, The Premier Edition
Narrated by: Robin Neihardt
Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

Non-member price: $28.94

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The famous life story of the Lakota healer and visionary, Nicholas Black Elk.

Widely hailed as a spiritual classic, this inspirational and unfailingly powerful story reveals the life and visions of the Lakota healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950) and the tragic history of his Sioux people during the epic closing decades of the Old West. In 1930, the aging Black Elk met a kindred spirit, the famed poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt (1881–1973) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Lakota elder chose Neihardt to share his visions and life with the world. Neihardt understood and today Black Elk is known to all.

Black Elk’s remarkable great vision came to him during a time of decimation and loss, when outsiders were stealing the Lakotas’ land, slaughtering buffalo, and threatening their age-old way of life. As Black Elk remembers all too well, the Lakotas, led by such legendary men as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, fought unceasingly for their freedom, winning a world-renowned victory at the Little Bighorn and suffering unspeakable losses at Wounded Knee.

Black Elk Speaks however is more than the epic history of a valiant Native nation. It is beloved as a spiritual classic because of John Neihardt’s sensitivity to Black Elk’s resounding vision of the wholeness of earth, her creatures, and all of humanity. Black Elk Speaks is a once-in-a-lifetime read: the moving story of a young Lakota boy before the reservation years, the unforgettable history of an American Indian nation, and an enduring spiritual message for us all.

The premier edition features the first-ever annotated edition of Black Elk’s story, done by renowned Lakota scholar Raymond J. DeMallie, the original Standing Bear illustrations and new commentary on them, new maps of the world of Black Elk Speaks, and a revised index.

©2008 The John G. Neihardt Trust (P)2014 Skyyrim Studios

What listeners say about Black Elk Speaks

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A world of fading visions

A very moving and heartfelt story of a time and place when a world disappeared.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robert
  • Robert
  • 14-03-2014

A book that will change your life...

Would you listen to Black Elk Speaks again? Why?

This is a book that I will be relistening to and rereading over and over again the rest of my life. It is so full of fascinating detail about another culture, spiritual insight and wisdom that I will get more out of it every time I listen to it.

What did you like best about this story?

The spirituality of the hoop of the world. The ending when Neihardt takes Black Elk up Harney Peak one last night.

Which character – as performed by Robin Neihardt – was your favorite?

Black Elk

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. It is easy to listen to RobinNeihardt's voice so the fascinating book comes through well.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William Sanders
  • William Sanders
  • 25-01-2015

Tale of tears

The greatest and saddest story I've listen to, well captured by Flaming Rainbow. How badly The People were treated, and the constant soup of lies they were forced to eat. Do not listen if you are not ready to hear America's dark history. What strikes me is how surprised people are to hear about the freedoms lost to our Govt today. Read and listen to the history of your Grandfathers folks; don't think that what was done to The People before wont be done to you tomorrow.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-2018

All North Americans should read this

It’s a great and horrible story of a fall of a nation once great. And even that it is perceived “natural” that some nations conquer others in the course of the history, it is horrifying to learn the details through the eyes of those who witnessed it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dez
  • Dez
  • 11-08-2016

Voice

The story is really engaging, especially if you love Native American history, but the reader of this literally put me to sleep. It was so hard to listen to because I'd lose focus on it at best.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jim holt
  • jim holt
  • 24-08-2018

An Essential and Timeless Piece of Work

I’ve always enjoyed biographies but this one stands out and defies category. If I were in charge of education it would be required reading in American history, philosophy, religious studies and classic literature. It is the story of Black Elk, a holy man of the Oglala Sioux, as translated into English by the Nebraska poet Richard Neihardt. It begins saying:
“My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow? So many other men have lived and shall live that story to be be grass upon the hills.  It is the story of all life that is holy and is good to tell and of us two leggeds sharing in it with the four leggeds and the wings of the air and all green things for these are children of one mother and their father is one Spirit.”

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for DAVID
  • DAVID
  • 21-10-2016

loved it!

This is by far the best book I've ever read about Native American culture. A must-read for anyone interesting in the spiritual practices of the Native American Indians.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marion Willms
  • Marion Willms
  • 20-04-2015

An epic and important story

This is a spiritual diary about the struggles of the aboriginal people in the U.S. It is honest about suffering and struggles of these people

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for PNW Prime
  • PNW Prime
  • 14-01-2015

Insight full, packed full of meaning ...

If you could sum up Black Elk Speaks in three words, what would they be?

Life & Times of a True Native American

Who was your favorite character and why?

Black Elk ... simple, understandable use of language but with tremendous meaning in every word. You can appreciate his life story simply as an autobiography or you can quickly find the deep understanding and meaning therein.

Have you listened to any of Robin Neihardt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narration is VERY dry and formal, BUT this is appropriate for the topic and the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I listened to the entire book in one sitting but I plan to revisit sections in the future and dig deeper.

Any additional comments?

I think a reader could use this an entre into the Native American spiritual perspective, but I think you could also use this much later in your research and growth on a much deeper level.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robin in Alaska
  • Robin in Alaska
  • 24-03-2020

Dancing Talking Horses / Arrows in the Clouds.....

If you like hearing about fantastic visions of dancing & talking horses, arrows descending from clouds in the sky which suddenly turn into men and then men which rapidly ascend back into the clouds, then this book is for you!! After an hour, I personally just couldn't take it anymore. Overall, it sounds like the ramblings resulting from ingestion of peyote and subsequent hallucinations from the mescaline. I'd love to hear the FACTUAL story about the birth and life of Black Elk, but was sorely disappointed by this fantastically rambling nonsense.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christina Sokoloff
  • Christina Sokoloff
  • 30-01-2015

A haunting story

To hear the words of Black Elk is so moving and sad indeed! May his vision yet be realized...for all.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jon L
  • Jon L
  • 24-05-2020

Poignant history, poor narration

This was an eye-opening oral history giving the largely untold version from the American Indian first-hand perspective, including the importance of visions and tells of nature. Fascinating, but a very sad descent to the final conclusion.
Unfortunately, this was narrated by the son (?) of the author, who to an English ear had a droning monotone voice, and almost totally ruined the experience. I was ready to quit after five minutes, but persevered to the end, and can honestly say that due to the voice I probably didn't take in a third of the reading.
It really annoys me when a good book is ruined by terrible narration, seems such a criminal waste. One would expect the criteria to be a narrator should be a quality voice, and not solely to be a relative. Didn't someone in production listen and think "damn, that's not good"?!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 29-03-2020

good at start but after it was boring story

was recommended to me. when he talks about the 6 goods and the Virgin's I had lost interest.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D. D. Pianta
  • D. D. Pianta
  • 30-12-2017

Sad but amazing. it should be taught in schools.

sad, amazing, inspirational. it should definitely be taught in schools for everyone to know the truth

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs. Sandra A. Geary
  • Mrs. Sandra A. Geary
  • 26-03-2016

fantastic book recommend to anyone

This is such a great book to read and gives a great insight to the American Indians way of life and the struggle they faced in the genocide of their culture. Black Elk your words are forever held in my heart may the great spirit bring into being your vision of the sacred hoops of all nations.

1 person found this helpful