You might have heard of Black Elk. Especially if you were around in the Sixties. His supposed autobiography, Black Elk Speaks, was all the rage in the early Sixties, and may by itself have kicked off the New Age movement. It, along with Casteneda’s “Don Juan” books, gives us most of what we think we know about “native spirituality.”
Unfortunately, it is not true. Nicholas Black Elk disassociated himself from it, saying it was not representative of his own views or experience. It portrays him as a traditional Lakota Sioux shaman who laments the coming of Christianity and the white man. In real life, Nick Black Elk was a devout and influential Catholic catechist.
His local diocese has now opened his cause for sainthood.