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  1. Native american Ghost Dance with Photo Books
  3. Native American Ghost Dance

They held hands and chanted. They wept and fainted from exhaustion. The white man had taken their land. Maybe if they danced, God would return it. The Ghost Dance had spread like a brush fire. Across the Western United States, tribes danced to restore the earth to its former, peaceful majesty, and to unite with their fallen ancestors.

Some even hoped it would eliminate the white man.


Native american Ghost Dance with Photo Books

The troops watched the dance. It went on for days. It felt foreign, like a threat. It scared them. What was it building toward? In the end, there would be blood, but it would be on their hands. T wo years earlier, on January 1, , Paiute religious leader Wovoka had a vision. He saw God and all those who had died. God told Wovoka he must return and tell his people to be good and love one another, to live in peace with the whites. If they obeyed, they would be reunited with their ancestors on earth. There would be no more death. Then God gave Wovoka the Ghost Dance.

If his people performed it for five consecutive days it would hasten their salvation. Wovoka began to preach his prophecy. Different tribes translated his speech and passed it rapidly throughout the West. You must not fight. Do right always. Generally, they forbade inclusion of Indian traditional culture and language. To help support the Lakota during the period of transition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA was to supplement the Lakota with food and to hire white farmers as teachers for the people.

The farming plan failed to take into account the difficulty that Lakota farmers would have in trying to cultivate crops in the semi-arid region of South Dakota. By the end of the growing season, a time of intense heat and low rainfall, it was clear that the land was unable to produce substantial agricultural yields. Unfortunately, this was also the time when the government's patience with supporting the so-called "lazy Indians" ran out. They cut rations for the Lakota in half. With the bison having been virtually eradicated a few years earlier, the Lakota were at risk of starvation.


Those who had been residing in the area for a long time recognized that the ritual was often held shortly before battle was to occur. He claimed the Hunkpapa spiritual leader Sitting Bull was the real leader of the movement. A former agent, Valentine McGillycuddy , saw nothing extraordinary in the dances and ridiculed the panic that seemed to have overcome the agencies, saying: "The coming of the troops has frightened the Indians.

Why should not the Indians have the same privilege? If the troops remain, trouble is sure to come. Nonetheless, thousands of additional U. Army troops were deployed to the reservation. On December 15, , Sitting Bull was arrested for failing to stop his people from practicing the Ghost Dance. He instantly wheeled and shot Sitting Bull, hitting him in the left side, between the tenth and eleventh ribs; [17] this exchange resulted in deaths on both sides, including that of Sitting Bull.

Army's list of 'trouble-making' Indians. He was stopped while en route to convene with the remaining Lakota chiefs. Army officers forced him to relocate with his people to a small camp close to the Pine Ridge Agency. Here the soldiers could more closely watch the old chief. That evening, December 28, the small band of Lakota erected their tipis on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. The following day, during an attempt by the officers to collect weapons from the band, one young, deaf Lakota warrior refused to relinquish his arms.

A struggle followed in which somebody's weapon discharged into the air. One U. When the fighting had concluded, 25 U. Among the dead Lakota, most were women and children. Outrage in the eastern United States emerged as the public learned about the deaths. The U. Many Americans felt the U. Army actions were unduly harsh; some related the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek to the "ungentlemanly act of kicking a man when he is already down".

Public uproar played a role in the reinstatement of the previous treaty's terms, including full rations and more monetary compensation for lands taken away. Twenty U.

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Following the Wounded Knee Massacre, interest and participation in the Ghost Dance movement dropped dramatically for fear of continued violence against practitioners. Like most Indian ceremonies, it became clandestine rather than dying out completely. Despite the widespread acceptance of the Ghost Dance movement, Navajo leaders described the Ghost Dance as "worthless words" in Kehoe believed the movement did not gain traction with the tribe due to the Navajo's higher levels of social and economic satisfaction at the time. Another factor was cultural norms among the Navajo, which inculcated a fear of ghosts and spirits, based on religious beliefs.

The Wounded Knee massacre was not the end of the Ghost Dance religious movement. Instead, it went underground. Wovoka continued to spread its message, along with Kicking Bear , Short Bull and other spiritual leaders. During the Wounded Knee incident of , Lakota men and women, including Mary Brave Bird , did the ghost dance ceremony on the site where their ancestors had been killed. In her book, Ms. Brave Bird writes that ghost dances continue as private ceremonies. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other uses, see Ghost Dance disambiguation. Play media. Hasinay: Caddo Phrasebook.

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As the ghost dance spread through western Native American reservations , the federal government moved aggressively to stop the activity. The dancing and the religious teachings associated with it became issues of public concern widely reported in newspapers. As the s began, the emergence of the ghost dance movement was viewed by white Americans as a credible threat. The American public was, by that time, used to the idea that Native Americans had been pacified, moved onto reservations, and essentially converted to living in the style of white farmers or settlers.

The efforts to eliminate the practice of ghost dancing on reservations led to heightened tensions which had profound effects.

Native American Ghost Dance

The legendary Sitting Bull was murdered in a violent altercation sparked by the crackdown on ghost dancing. Two weeks later, the confrontations prompted by the ghost dance crackdown led to the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre. The ghost dance movement was effectively ended, though it continued as a religious ritual in some places well into the 20th century. The ghost dance took a place at the end of a long chapter in American history, as it seemed to mark the end of Native American resistance to white rule. The story of the ghost dance began with Wovoka, a member of the Paiute tribe in Nevada.

Wovoka, who was born about , was the son of a medicine man. Growing up, Wovoka lived for a time with a family of white Presbyterian farmers, from whom he picked up the habit of reading the Bible every day. Wovoka developed a wide-ranging interest in religions. He was said to be familiar with Mormonism and various religious traditions of native tribes in Nevada and California. In late , he became quite ill with scarlet fever and may have gone into a coma.

During his illness, he claimed to have religious visions. The depth of his illness coincided with a solar eclipse on January 1, , which was seen as a special sign. When Wovoka regained his health, he began to preach of knowledge which God had imparted to him. According to Wovoka, a new age would dawn in The dead of his people would be restored to life.

Game which had been hunted nearly to extinction would return. And the white people would vanish and stop afflicting the indigenous peoples. Wovoka also said a ritual dance which had been taught to him in his visions must be practiced by native populations. Decades earlier, in the late s , during a time of privation among western tribes, there had been a version of the ghost dance which spread through the West.

That dance also prophesied positive changes to come to the lives of Native Americans. The earlier ghost dance spread through Nevada and California, but when the prophecies did not come true, the beliefs and accompanying dance rituals were abandoned. His idea quickly spread along travel routes, and became widely known among the western tribes. At the time, the Native American population was demoralized.