Author and illustrator S. D. Nelson lives in Fargo and is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas.
His artwork appears on book jackets, greeting cards, and CD covers, and his paintings are
held in both private and public collections. He has written and illustrated numerous award-winning children’s books.
Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree in art at Minnesota State University at Moorhead. His paintings offer a fresh contemp-orary interpretation of traditional Lakota images. S. D. has painted extensively on animal skins and bone. He has crafted traditional rawhide drums, beaded on leather and created ledger book drawings. Nelson’s fluid style and traditional Native American imagery combines movement, color, and form into a visual celebration of life.
The Star People
Sister Girl and her brother Young Wolf wander away from their village and soon
find themselves far out in the surrounding prairie. They sit down in the grass
and watch the clouds passing above billow to form an eagle, horses, and other
creatures. Suddenly, animals begin to race past the children, followed by a wall
of fire! Fleeing along with the frightened beasts, Sister Girl and Young Wolf
save themselves by tumbling into a shallow stream.
The fire leaves behind ash and a barren, forbidding landscape. The
children realize that they are hopelessly lost. Night is coming- how will they
get home to their parents? And why are the evening stars dancing so?
Drawing upon traditional Lakota art, S. D. Nelson's illustrations bring to
life a memorable new legend about the Star People.
Black Elk's Vision
Told from the Native American point of view, Black Elk’s Vision provides a
unique perspective on American history. From recounting the visions Black Elk
had as a young boy, to his involvement in the battles of Little Big Horn and
Wounded Knee, as well as his journeys to New York City and Europe with Buffalo
Bill’s Wild West Show, this biographical account of Black Elk—an Oglala-Lakota medicine man (1863–1950)—follows him from childhood through adulthood.
S. D. Nelson tells the story of Black Elk through the medicine man’s voice, bringing to life what it was like to be Native American in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The Native people found their land overrun by the Wha-shi-choos, or White Man, the buffalo slaughtered for sport and to purposely eliminate their main food source, and their people gathered onto reservations. Through it all, Black Elk clung to his childhood visions that planted the seeds to help his people—and all people—understand their place in the circle of life. The book includes archival images, a timeline, a
bibliography, an index, and Nelson’s signature art.