Black Elk:

Black Elk was born into a tribe of the Plains Indians, the Oglala Sioux. The Sioux were hunters, and they relied mainly on the buffalo. Buffalo was their main source for food as well as shelter and clothing. The Sioux lived throughout the Midwestern plains of North America, until they were put on Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Residents of Pine Ridge refer to themselves often time as Sioux, Siouxs, Indian, and Lakota.# As America flourished, the Lakota found themselves being pushed westwards. As a means of maintaining their identity, as well as their survival, religion was integral. Religion allowed them to be resilient against their enemies, both in the physical and spiritual world. Religion allowed for adaptation in Lakota society as America pushed them westward. It was the Holy Men, such as Black Elk, that underlined the Lakota society, and kept a nomadic people together.
What is known of Black Elk comes from his teachings. By his own accounts, he was born in the "Moon of the Popping Trees on the Little Powder River When the Four Crows Were Killed"#, or December, 1863. Black Elk received hisfirst vision at the age of five:
Thefirst time I rode a horse I was five years old and my father made me some bows and arrows. This was in the spring. I was out in the woods trying to get a bird and just as I was going into the woods there was a thunderstorm coming, and I heard a voice over there. This was not a dream–it actually happened. I saw two men coming out of a cloud with spears. As I was looking up to that, there was a kingbird sitting there and these two men were coming toward me singing the sacred song and that bird told me to listen to the two men. The kingbird said: "[Look], the clouds all over are one-sided, a voice is calling you." I looked up and the two men were coming down singing:
Behold him, a sacred voice is calling you.
All over the sky a sacred voice is calling you.
I stood gazin…

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