Christian Doctrine According to Black Elk
Black Elk was born in 1863 as a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe. At the age of nine, he received a great vision that drove him to a life of prayer. In the vision, Black Elk was given tremendous power and a special gift – “the center of the nation's hoop to make it live."
Black Elk became an influential medicine man and experienced a number of monumental events in history, including the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Massacre at Wounded Knee. Although he was known as a powerful man, Black Elk experienced intense mental suffering throughout his early life. In Black Elk; Holy Man of the Oglala by Michael Steltenkamp, family members share his deep physical, psychological and spiritual struggles, including seasons of crushing inner torment.
Christian Doctrine and the Great God of the Bible
In 1904, severe anxiety and painful ulcers forced Black Elk into a hospital. While there, his friend, Kills Brave, shared the Great God of the Bible with him. Shortly thereafter, Black Elk committed to following this Great God and was healed of his ulcers. As it turns out, his physical and psychological issues never returned.
Black Elk followed the Great God for the last thirty years of his life. He returned to his people on the Midwestern plains of North America and reconnected to the roots of his tribal life. Although he rejected his prior ways as a medicine man, many of his people came back to him for advice, treatment, and prayer.
With new understanding, he would chant well-known tribal prayers to the Great Spirit, Sun Father, Grandfather, and Creator. Black Elk would lovingly care for his people as he shared his journey with them. History records that many Oglala Sioux ultimately followed his path to the Great God through Jesus Christ. Black Elk’s childhood vision of bringing life to “the center of the nation’s hoop” was realized. Indeed, this was true Christian doctrine!
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