Nicholas Black Elk

Nicholas Black Elk

People from around the world know of the famous book “Black Elk Speaks.” Published in 1932, it recounts the stories and spiritual teachings of Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950), a revered holy man among the Oglala Lakota.

What is less well known is that Black Elk was also a leader right here at Red Cloud, as a part of the parish community that continues to celebrate his memory and keep his voice alive today.

During the second half of his life, Nicholas Black Elk become a practicing Catholic—and then ultimately a catechist or religious teacher—sharing with others his conviction in the parallels between Lakota and Catholic spirituality. To honor the gifts that he brought to his community and to the Church itself, the Diocese of Rapid City formally nominated Black Elk for canonization—the process of becoming a saint.

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