Black Elk Circle Poem

  

You have noticed that everything an Indian does in a circle, 

and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, 

and everything and everything tries to be round. 

  

In the old days all our power came to us from the sacred hoop 

of the nation and so long as the hoop was unbroken the people 

flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, 

and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace 

and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain and the north 

with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This 

knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. 

  

Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle. 

The sky is round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball 

and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. 

Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. 

The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon 

does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great 

circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were. 

  

The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is 

in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the 

nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, 

a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children. 

  

Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux 1863-1950 

  

  

Synthetic hoop discarded on a trash heap in the middle of our sacred nature.

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