Describe some aspects of Black Elk's visions.Black Elk (Oglala Lakota)
When Black Elk (1863-1950), the great Oglala (Lakota) Sioux medicine man, was nine years old, he had his first revelatory vision. He claims to have met the great spirits that guided the universe, and saw a tree which symbolized the earth as well as the life of the American Indian. He did not at first understand his vision and only later developed a sense of its significance. At the age of five, he claims to have begun to hear voices from the spirit world. His people later came to revere him as a psychic and healer. When his people made their way to Canada following the death of Crazy Horse, a vision told Black Elk that bison would provide them with sustenance. He also saw that the buffalo would soon disappear and that the Sioux would someday be living in "square gray houses." While living in Paris, he had a vision in which his spirit returned to his homeland--but without his earthly body. The cousin of Crazy Horse and a witness to both Custer's Last Stand and the Massacre at Wounded Knee, Black Elk later converted to Catholicism and was able to observe both his tribal spiritual traditions as well as his Christian faith.