Black Elk was born in 1863 along the Little Powder River in Wyoming. At age nine, he felt into a coma for twelve days and was believed to be ill by his family., who urgently sang and prayed over him. Healers and medicine men were called to cure him, but nobody realized that he was not ill at all. Black Elk was having a great vision.
When he awoke, he kept the vision a secret until he was 17. When he shared the vision with his elders, they were astonished with his power. Black Elk grew up to become one of the greatest medicine people and chiefs of the Sioux.
This painting depicts the coming of Black Elk’s vision. It is a painting that shows the coming of a blessing and spiritual power.
The scene, including the clothing and tipi accessories, is historically accurate for 1870s Sioux life, and shows the mother and father praying together for healing.
The paints include natural pigments made from these and other materials:
· Yellow clay from Mt. Vesuvius
· Red pipestone dust
· Mayan blue from Central America
· Browns from mountain minerals
· Ochres from Europe
And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...”