Yesterday I participated in a funeral in Tekamah, Nebraska, which is a small town about an hour north along US 75. It was a cold, wet, gray, blustery day. The burial was atop a hill overlooking the Missouri River valley, and it was very cold. [Note: this photo is from later in the day atop a different hill in Blair.]
On the way back to town I stopped at the Black Elk-Neihardt Park in Blair, Nebraska. The website describes the park as "a place where Black Elk Speaks is realized in time and space, a place to contemplate the mystery of existence."
At the crown of the park sits the Tower of the Four Winds, a Christianized version of Black Elk's vision of the two paths, the sacred hoop, and the four winds. It is a beautiful piece. I too feel great spiritual power in Black Elk's vision and have described it as "the eschatological vision of the Plains." I too want to merge it with my Christian theology and identity. It was interesting to see someone's else take on the same themes.
The commemorative plaque at the base includes these words:
The universal Messiah with outstretched arms blessing all people stands within the tree of life. Around them is an ever-widening circle of light forming the hoop of the world which holds all living things.