Study Help Full Glossary for Black Elk Speaks

Agencies organizations established by the U.S. Government to contain and control Indian life; at this point in American history, the term was used synonymously with “reservations”.

bay a reddish-brown horse; the reddish-brown color of such a horse.

Blue Clouds the name Black Elk uses for the Arapahoe Indians.

Bozeman Trail the trail through Sioux country that was cleared by whites as a means of reaching goldmining operations in Montana.

buckskin a yellowish-grey horse; the yellowish-grey color of such a horse.

cache to store in a hidden place (from the French verb cacher, to hide).

chacun sha sha the bark of the red willow.

charger a horse ridden in battle or parade.

counting coup the Sioux ritual of striking an enemy who has fallen, wounded or dead; the first person to count coup is considered bravest of the group, almost as brave as the one who has brought the enemy down.

crier an official who shouts out announcements.

drouth a variant spelling of drought.

four-rayed having four branches or leaves radiating out from a central point.

fronters Indian warriors placed in the front line of battle.

Greasy Grass a translation of the Lakota term for the area around the Little Bighorn River.

Great Spirit in Sioux belief, the divine power that created the world, whose presence can be perceived in daily life; comparable to the Judeo-Christian idea of God.

Haho a prayer-like utterance.

Hetchetu aloh it is so indeed.

Heyoka a person who has been granted sacred power which he enacts in an entertaining and comic way.

hoka hey a Lakota phrase meaning “charge”.

jubilee an anniversary, especially a fiftieth or twenty-fifth anniversary; a time for celebration and rejoicing.

Kill dance a ritual dance designed to intensify enthusiasm for battle.

Lakota one of three groups (the other two being Dakota and Nakota) that made up the Sioux tribe or nation; the Lakota and Dakota, both located west of the Missouri River, are together sometimes referred to as West Tetons.

lament/lamentation to feel or express deep sorrow or grief for; the expression of deep sorrow or grief.

Messiah a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.

Minneconjou one of the six bands that made up the Lakota Sioux tribe, of which the Oglala , Black Elk’s band, is also one.

Nation’s hoop (also subsequently called “sacred hoop”) an imagined circle, representing the traditional community identity and the social and cultural coherence of the Sioux nation.

Ogalala (variant spelling of Oglala) one of the six bands that made up the Lakota group of the Sioux tribe or nation; the other five are Hunkpapas, Miniconjous, Brules, Sans Arcs, and Black Kettles.

papa dried meat.

pony drag a conveyance made from wooden poles covered with hide, hitched to a pony or horse, for the purpose of carrying people or equipment.

roan a horse of a reddish color that is mixed with some white; the color of such a horse.

sage a plant of the mint family (genus Salvia) with an aromatic taste and smell; Indians burn sage to release purifying properties.

scout a person sent out to observe the tactics of an opponent.

Shyela the name Black Elk uses for the Cheyenne Indians.

six-shooter a revolver having a cylinder that holds six cartridges; specifically, such a revolver with a long barrel and of relatively large caliber of the kind usually used in the western United States in the last half of the nineteenth century.

snowblindness the condition of being temporarily blind from the sun’s ultraviolet rays reflected by the snow.

sorrel a light reddish-brown horse; the light reddish-brown color of such a horse.

sweat tepee a structure used by the Sioux for purification rituals, in which an individual was induced to perspire profusely in steam generated by pouring water on heated rocks.

tepee a cone-shaped tent of animal skins or bark used by North American Indian peoples.

Three Stars General Crook.

tremolo a vocal call made by a repetitive wavering of the voice.

two-legged/four-legged a poetic way of describing bipeds (humans) and quadrupeds (animals).

waga chun rustling tree, cottonwood.

warpath route taken by a party of American Indians going on a warlike expedition or to a war.

Wasichu the Lakota name for members of the Caucasian race.

Wounded Knee the name given to the Sioux encampment around Wounded Knee Creek in Montana.