English Dept. State University Brookings, S.D. 57006 John G. Neihardt Skyrim Farm Route #7 Columbia, Mo. 65201
Dear Mr. Neihardt:

I obtained your address from Dr. Grace Seiler, who taught here last year. She admires you very much.

Next summer, our School of Arts and Sciences will institute a Humanitites program for adults, the subject being "The Great Plains." We would be greatly honored to have you as a speaker.

If you are interested, would you write to Dr. Jack Marken, the Chairman of the English Department? He can give you the details, about the length of your stay, the stipend, and so on. I realize that you may not want to decide until you hear from him.

Thirty years ago, in my teens, I discovered Black Elk Speaks and have read it many times since -- in Minneapolis, on the north shore of Lake Superior, at Dartmouth College, in a farmhouse in Vermont, in New York City, in San Francisco, in Carmel, in the Coast Range below Big Sur, and in Philadelphia. When I began teaching here a year ago, I put the book into my "Literature of the West" course and have had it there ever since. Other books come and go in that course but Black Elk Speaks will always be a part of it. Such noble prose! -- befitting so beautifully such a noble subject! I had myself photographed at Black Elk's grave last month.

If you have any further information about him or have written anything else about him (I have Brown's Sacred Pipe), I'd like to tell my students. Mr. Gildersleeve (I don't know his first name), the museum owner at Wounded Knee, has an unpublished photograph of Black Elk, in full head-dress. I've asked for a copy. Do you think it would be a good idea to ask Ben Black Elk to participate in our Great Plains program? And can you suggest anybody else?

You appeared three times last spring on the University's TV.

With thanks for having written Black Elk Speaks,

Dexter Martin
Dexter Martin
Asst. Prof.