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This September 1948 photo shows Nicholas Black Elk at a reunion of the last survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. 

Photo courtesy Bill Groethe

Humanities scholar Jace DeCory will discuss the story of Nicholas Black Elk as told in John Neihardt’s book “Black Elk Speaks,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

DeCory is an assistant professor emeritus at Black Hills State University.

‘“Hehaka Sapa -- Black Elk, is one of the most influential and celebrated Oglala Lakota individuals of all time, “ DeCory said. “Black Elk’s teachings and experiences should be shared and discussed in order to better understand his spiritual legacy as a holy man. As an early cultural mediator, Black Elk continues to give special insights into Lakota culture and people.”

In the 1930. Nebraska poet John Neihardt traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in search of material for his epic poem about the history of the American West. Black Elk shared his visions with Neihardt because he wished to pass along some reality of Oglala life, Vine Deloria Jr. wrote in the book’s forward. “Black Elk Speaks” is a resource for those who want to study Oglala Lakota culture and for American Indian young people who are searching for their roots, Deloria said.

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DeCory retired this past spring after teaching at BHSU for 33 years. DeCory gives presentations on a variety of topics including cultural awareness, Lakota culture, philosophy and the role of American Indian women.

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