The Lakota medicine man converted to Catholicism and taught others the Catholic faith.
For nearly 50 years, Nicholas Black Elk prepared people for Baptism, led prayer meetings, organized events for Native American Catholics, and worked as a lay missionary to the Lakota (also called Sioux).
His life of Christian faithfulness, embedded in an indigenous culture, has been an inspiration to many.
In 2017 the Diocese of Rapid City in South Dakota initiated his cause for canonization, hoping one day that the Church will recognize his holiness and declare him a saint.
Here is a prayer for the canonization of Black Elk from the Diocese of Rapid City.
Heavenly Father, Great Spirit!
Behold us, who stand before you
singing our song of thanksgiving for
Servant of God, Nicholas Black Elk.
Faithfully he walked the Sacred Red Road
and generously witnessed the Good News
of our Lord Jesus Christ among
the Native American people.
We humbly ask you to hear the prayers
we plead through his intercession.
We ask Holy Mother Church to recognize
his sanctity by acknowledging his presence
among the company of Saints
and as one to imitate in his zeal for the Gospel.
Open our hearts to also recognize the Risen Christ
in other cultures and peoples, to your glory and honor through Christ our Lord. Amen.