Spirit of Black Elk

Black Elk was an Oglala Sioux holy man, highly respected by his people. As a boy he had fantastic dreams of the Indian nations, and, as a man, people with all kinds of diseases came to him for prayer and healing. He was careful to say that he does not heal, but God reaches down through the sky to perform the healing. The Sacred Hoop (on the front of the sculpture) was colored red, white, black and yellow to represent the four spirits of mankind.

As a boy he was at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and later, as a man, he was at the massacre of Wounded Knee. Full of grief for his people and the loss of their way of life, he sadly said “The Tree of Life is dead”.

In this lovely rendering of this holy man, Sammy Long shows—not the face of a warrior, but—the sad holy face of a very spiritual old man. As you look at his left profile you see the old man with feathers stuck in his hair. But from the right profile a ghostly hawk appears as if crowning his head. This image represents “the spirit of Black Elk”.

Creating Black Elk at Parks Bronze foundry - Patineur at work

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