The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that the power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over the dumb creation; on the other hand, it is to him a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence -- the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence -- not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the surface of shining pool -- his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life.
If you ask him: "What is silence?" he will answer: "It is the Great Mystery!" "The holy silence is His voice!" If you ask: "What are the fruits of silence?" he will say: "They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character."
"Guard your tongue in youth," said the old chief, Wabashaw, "and in age you may mature a thought that will be of service to your people!"
(Ohiyesa, Wahpeton Dakota)
'The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt'
By Raymond J. DeMallie (Editor), Hilda Neihardt (Foreword)
In Black Elk Speaks and When the Tree Flowered, John C. Neihardt recorded the teachings of the Oglala holy man Black Elk, who had, in a vision, seen himself as the "sixth grandfather," the spiritual representative of the earth and of mankind. Raymond J. DeMallie makes available for the first time the transcripts from Neihardt's interviews with Black Elk in 1931 and 1944, which formed the basis for the two books. His introduction offers new insights into the life of Black Elk.
"In The Sixth Grandfather, Dr. DeMallie reveals himself to be a uniquely sensitive interpreter of Lakota theology, philosophy, and history—which are all one in traditionalist Lakota thought. His editing is a masterpiece of scholarly skill and spiritual insight, insight that penetrates the inner beings of both Black Elk and John G. Neihardt, two men of vastly different cultures who became one as seekers of the Sacred. The Sixth Grandfather is, as it were, the completion of the holy task begun in Black Elk Speaks and When the Tree Flowered."— Father Peter J. Powell, author of People of the Sacred Mountain
(Father Peter J. Powell)
"As a careful anthropological document or a moving personal testimony, the legacy here preserved deserves a wide readership."—Library Journal