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This chapter introduces three central themes in Black Elk

This chapter introduces three central themes in Black Elk -...

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This chapter introduces three central themes in Black Elk's narrative: the great cultural and  philosophical differences between Indians and whites that resulted in conflict and destruction as  whites moved west; the visionary ideal of the perfect Indian society, which existed in the mythic past  but was spoiled in the present by the actions of the whites; and, finally, the problems of  autobiographical narrative, including the accuracy of memory, complicated in Black Elk's case by the  translation, transcription, and editing of his oral narrative by others. At the time of Black Elk's birth, the U.S. Civil War had slowed down westward expansion, both  because the war consumed national efforts and because many able-bodied young and middle-aged  men that would have immigrated had become war casualties. The decade between 1860 and 1870 
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