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BRATTLEBORO — The First Wednesday Lecture series, a collaboration between the Vermont Humanities Council and Vermont public libraries, continues online via Zoom with an exploration, by historian Damian Costello, of the life of the man behind the book “Black Elk Speaks.”

Black Elk lived from 1863 to 1950, and helped to heal his native community. His story can be especially inspiring during this time of deep societal divisions. Nicholas Black Elk’s Lakota philosophy can help us see the natural world as a unified whole, and his continued hope amidst great tragedy can inform how we approach contemporary crises.

Costello received his Ph.D. in theological studies from the University of Dayton and specializes in the intersection of Catholic theology, Indigenous spiritual traditions, and colonial history. He is an international expert on the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk and the author of “Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism.”

The virtual talk will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, with recordings of the event available on the VHC Facebook and YouTube channel. Register for the live event, which includes an opportunity for questions and answers, at

The First Wednesdays series is held every month from October through May in nine communities statewide. The statewide underwriter for the 2020-2012 series is the Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries. Brooks Memorial Library programs are sponsored by the Friends of Brooks Memorial Library and this talk is underwritten by the Peter Gilbert Endowment Fund.

For more information, contact Brooks Memorial Library at 802-254-5290 or visit


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