Black Elk Speaks Greed is a large part of the American culture whether we realize it as a society or not. Many countries around the world view the United States as a selfish country that does what it wants on a global scale, and does not share or allocate its predominate wealth. I am very thankful and proud to be a citizen of this country. Even though I would risk my life to protect our country and its freedom, there are aspects about our civilization that I wish could be different. Black Elk, “a holy man and a warrior of the Lakota Nation Indians,” was a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe during the most horrific period for Native Americans in the Western part of the United States. In excerpts from the novel of his life story Black Elk Speaks, he is able to relate the differences in the ways of life from his people and the white settlers.
Although he lived in the late 1800 s, he is able to make reference to issues that are relevant to us today. His observations display issues such as human bonds, ethics, economics, and politics. He describes how the excessive acquisitiveness of one society led to the cultural displacement of another. The Native American culture revolved around a circle, or what black Elk referrers to as their nation’s hoop.
The flowering tree is the center of the hoop. The flowering tree is symbolic of growth and prosperity for all the people in the tribe. It is equally shared between all the members of the tribe. “Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round” (APT 315).
"For the power is not in us anymore."After the Heyoka ceremony, I came to live here where I am now between Wounded Knee Creek and Grass Creek. Others came too, and we made these little gray houses of logs that you see, and they are square. It is a bad way to live, for there can be no power in a square. You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of ...
The flowering tree at the center of the circle was nourished by the seasons, which also occur in a circular pattern. Black Elk also makes reference to the sky and the earth being round, the moon and the sun setting in a circle as well as both being round.
The wind blows in circular whirls. A person’s life from childhood to death is circular (APT 315).
The reference to a circle of how Indian’s lived is symbolic because in a circle, everything that goes around comes around. Everything is shared amongst the citizens. Even thought there were members of the tribe that were regarded as chiefs or held high ranks, they still slept in tepees just like every other person.
Rank was not granted by how much a person had; it was granted by the ability to help other members of the tribe. Black Elk was regarded as a holy man because he was very good at talking to people and curing them. Land was not divided, it was shared. Teepees were set up in a circle and ceremonies and dances were held in the center. Even when the Indians were short on something, they always managed to share what they had with other tribes in need. They did not do this because they had to, it was the code that they lived by.
When a neighboring tribe of Black Elk’s was on the move without any food or clothing, they gave them as much food and clothing as possible even though they were short themselves. Nature also played a large role in the Indian’s lives. “Birds make their nests in circles, for their religion is the same as ours” (APT 315).
The traditional Sioux way of life created interdependence between man and nature.
Respect for the cycle of the seasons and animal life was necessary in order to secure food, clothing, and shelter. When the Indians lived in cooperation with nature, those necessities were available to them. They were available in such plenty, that their very existence seemed proof of the care of the Great Spirit. Bison were very important to the Native Americans.
Even though they hunted and killed them they had great respect and love for them. They only hunted what they needed to survive. When they did kill a bison, every part of it was used. The meat was used for food, and the fur was used for clothes.
?Introduction: In this essay I am going to compose a piece of text which will involve the tension of Segregation. In the 1930s, although 50% of the population of Southern towns were black, they had no vote and could not marry whites. Also in the 1930’s, many black people lived in the southern states. During that time, racism reached its highest point. For instance, the whites treated the blacks ...
The bones were even used as tools and weapons. Nothing was wasted. When white settlers, or Wasichus, began to take over the land the Indians had occupied, their way of life began to diminish. Many of the Indian chiefs were fed whisky and were conned over to signing over their land when they were drunk.
What was not signed off was taken with force and war. When many of the remaining Indian tribes were almost diminished, Black Elk volunteered to join the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. This was a show that toured across America and eventually to England. Black elk did not join the show for money, they did not even get paid. He joined because he wanted to learn about how the Wasichus lived, and viewed life. I find that interesting because he did not express hatred toward the people that had killed so many of his.
He just wanted to learn about the white culture and their way of life. He felt that if he could learn about their culture he could restore the great hoop that had been broken for his people. Once he was on the tour, he learned about the ways of the white civilization that was occupying most of the land. “I could see that the Wasichus did not care for each other the way our people did before the nation’s hoop was broken. They would take everything from each other if they could, and so there were some who had more of everything than they could use, while crowds of people had nothing at all and maybe starving” (APT 317).
He noted that the Wasichus lived in square housed and their plots of land were divided, not shared.
Their fields were marked by square lines. Black Elk’s people were forced to live in “square boxes” and they felt powerless. The Wasichus also had no regard for the land or nature according to Black Elk. They would hunt bison and just take their tongues to sell. Many times, they would hunt them just for sport and nothing else. Many of the places they lived were dirty and places were filled with trash.
“They had forgotten that the earth was their mother. This could not be better than the ways of my people” (APT 317).
I feel that many of the same aspects and ways about what Black Elk saw in the Wasichus is similar to our culture today. Pollution is a very big problem in our country. People litter and treat the earth like it is a garbage can, when it is where we live. People have millions and millions of dollars while others are starving and homeless.
Diversity has caused problems ever since the first Europeans landed in the West Indies and up in till present day. Every Meeting between different races, different cultures, and different skin colors has made people see diversity among each other. Diversity has caused people to kill, to conquer, and to destroy. The fact that diversity is apart of the United States of America has made this country ...
We kill animals for sport, and don’t even use their meat for food. People do not always treat people with respect, and steal from one another. People waste food when others around them have nothing to eat. I feel that this selfish mentality carries over in how we are viewed as nation. As a nation we have an abundance of certain things, while other countries have nothing.
We use force on certain occasions to take what we want. We supposedly helped many people by going to Iraq, but many feel that we were there for selfish reasons. We drove the Native Americans off their land, and killed thousands and thousands of them, to acquire land. We waste and throw away food, and people have no food in other countries. Most of the meals served in this country do not even get eaten all the way. Many times it is because our portions are so big, and many times it is because people are wasteful.
There is no rule book or law saying how to allocate your resources or your power. Many people believe in the term “survival of the fittest.” Charles Darwin stated this as the process of natural selection. Nature selects the best adapted varieties to survive and to reproduce. If you view the world this way, it is acceptable for some people in our culture to have a lot, and some have nothing. It is all right that we are the most powerful nation so we can make the decisions that benefit our country the most. Since the white settlers in the 1800’s were more powerful than the Indians, they should take their land.
This explains why species evolve and change over time. Many people feel that these changes are a good thing. It is possible that the stories told by Black Elk have been altered since his story was passed down for so many years. Any text that has been through the process that Black Elk Speaks has raises questions of authenticity.
There is no right or wrong on how people or cultures should live. If greed is a part of human nature, than we act as normal human beings. Everyone is different on how they view the world. While I feel that it is impossible for our society today to live as the Native Americans did, I believe that it is possible to be more aware of what we have, and how fortunate we are. I believe it is possible to incorporate some of the ideas and ways of life that Black Elk discussed into our society today. This is feasible on a domestic and global level.
Why people do not stop eating junk food? ‘’Junk food A high-calorie food that is low in nutritional value.’’(Unknown). For better or for worse is now available all over the world. We see it almost everywhere, like when we go to the grocery, stores, Junk-Food restaurants, on television, etc. usually looking very tempting, appealing and desirable for people to buy it. According to Dupel Francine ( ...
Bibliography American Political Thought-Dol beare, Kenneth and Cummings, Michael Copyright 2004 by CQ press.