‘Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk’s Journey to Sainthood’ Documentary to Air May 24

On Sunday, May 24, KSTP(ABC) will broadcast the 1-hour Black Elk documentary, “Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk’s Journey to Sainthood” at 5 a.m. This retelling of Black Elk’s life and legacy relies heavily on archival photographs and publications, expert interviews, and historical reenactments on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In so doing, it goes beyond the book, Black Elk Speaks, and encompasses his entire life and legacy culminating with his family’s request that the Catholic Church declare him a saint. Find the full movie trailer here.

According to records from the Diocese of Rapid City, Black Elk was born around 1865. He came from a family of medicine men and he carried on their work. He was at the Battle of Little Big Horn close to the Montana-Wyoming border in 1876. Around 1877, he joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and toured in Europe. He returned to the United States in 1889.

Through his interaction with Jesuit priests, he converted to the Catholic faith and was baptized on December 6, 1904, the feast of St. Nicholas. One biographer said he took the name Nicholas because he was inspired by the saint’s generosity.

For more information about Black Elk’s canonization cause and the documentary, see blackelkcanonization.com.