When I began to write this book, my intention was to tell the untold personal side of John Neihardt's interviews with Black Elk and Eagle Elk. My father, except in private conversations or public appearances, and perhaps also in the two autobiographical books written late in his life, did not emphasize the personal; he wrote always of the larger pattern. Because the experiences we had with the holy man Black Elk and his family and with the warrior Eagle Elk have remained important to me, and because my memory of those times is so vivid, it seemed worthwhile to record them. I do this now.
Throughout my story of the 1931 interviews, I cite dates when various events and discussions occurred. Those dates are correct, for they are taken from the diary kept at the time by my sister Enid Neihardt Fink, who acted as reporter for those interviews. I have quoted certain observations Enid made in that daily record, because her unstudied comments now recapture the simple freshness of the moment. It is also from Enid's diary that I was reminded that Neihardt had only three weeks on the Pine Ridge Reservation to complete the 1931 interviews, for she complains that such a limitation greatly increased the workload. I thank Enid most sincerely for granting me permission to make use of her 1931 diary in this story.
I do not intend to reiterate the content of the interviews, or to repeat what is available in Black Elk Speaks or When the Tree Flowered. There is, however, a substantial amount of material that is both interesting and of historical importance--stemming from the times of the interviews and from our association with the Black Elks and with
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Publication information: Book title: Black Elk and Flaming Rainbow:Personal Memories of the Lakota Holy Man and John Neihardt. Contributors: Hilda Neihardt - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1995. Page number: xi.
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