Character Analysis Black Elk's Father


Also named Black Elk, he is a medicine man and the cousin of Crazy Horse. He was wounded in the Fetterman Fight (1866) and his behavior throughout the narrative is consistent with traditional Sioux values. He is a provident husband and father who shows great concern for the welfare of his family, supervising their encampments and later, taking them to Canada to try to escape the restrictions of reservation life. He is depicted educating Black Elk in hunting practices and offering him paternal advice. He does not fully understand his son's visionary experience and pays a medicine man for curing him. He is, at first, skeptical of Black Elk's intuitive understanding of the animal world, although he respects it. Even though he is not a highly developed character, he is especially memorable in two dramatic episodes: first, trying to protect his family and horses right before the Battle of Little Bighorn; and second, hunting and butchering bison during his family's exile in Canada. He dies shortly after Black Elk returns from his European tour with the Wild West Show (1889), but the circumstances of his death are not recorded.