Vermont Humanities

That the People May Live: The Life and Legacy of Nicholas Black Elk, Holy Man of the Lakota

Man giving a talk in a bike shop
Speakers Bureau

Black Elk with his wife and familyThis lecture explores the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk (1866-1950), the Lakota holy man made famous by the book “Black Elk Speaks.” Costello begins with Black Elk’s Great Vision and his struggle to discern his calling during the events of the Great Sioux War.

During his long life, Black Elk lived out his vision in three overlapping roles: as a traditional healer, a Catholic teacher, and a revivalist of Indigenous traditions. In the midst of great tragedy, Black Elk wove these three strands into one beautiful life exemplifying survival, hope, and reconciliation. The talk is based on extensive historical research, extended residency in Indian Country, and continuing conversation with Lakota elders.

Special Arrangements

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Available in correctional facilities.

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About the Presenter

Damian Costello

Damian Costello

Damian Costello specializes in the intersection of Catholic theology, Indigenous spiritual traditions, and colonial history. He is an international expert on the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk.

Talks by Damian Costello

Black Elk with his wife and family

That the People May Live: The Life and Legacy of Nicholas Black Elk, Holy Man of the Lakota

This lecture explores the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk (1866-1950), the Lakota holy man made famous by the book “Black Elk Speaks.”

Painting of slaves attacking a house during the Stono Rebellion

The Stono Rebellion

The Stono Rebellion has been called the most important slave revolt in North American history. In this lecture, Damian Costello examines the events and the deep African roots of the 1739 uprising in South Carolina.

Vermont Humanities*** June 7, 2019