Because the ghost dance emphasized traditional ways, many earlier dances were revived at that time. In September some three thousand Indians, virtually all of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Wichita, Caddo, and Apache tribes, gathered on the South Canadian River and danced every night for two weeks.
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Morgan visited Oklahoma Territory and, seeing no signs of violence as a result of the ghost dance, made no attempt to prohibit it. The ghost dance continued uninterrupted in Oklahoma until at least Each tribe composed its own songs and adapted the dance in accordance with participants' own visions, reviving old-time clothing, weapons, dances, and hand games. Individuals from many tribes attended ghost dances. Belt sent a telegram to Anadarko saying, "Order visiting Cherokee engaged in Messiah dance to leave Kiowa reservation immediately.
Tell them if they refuse troops will be sent to compel obedience. Most important to Oklahoma's rich American Indian heritage was the stimulus this late-nineteenth-century religious movement provided to revive old traditions and to compose new music. This occurred at the very time when the disruptive move to reservation life could have caused the stultification of American Indian religion and culture and the demise of Native music.
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Raymond J. DeMallie Washington, D. The Ghost Dance Natdia is a spiritual movement that came about in the late s when conditions were bad on Indian reservations and Native Americans needed something to give them hope. This movement found its origin in a Paiute Indian named Wovoka , who announced that he was the messiah come to earth to prepare the Indians for their salvation. The Paiute tradition that led to the Ghost Dance began in the s in the Western Great Basin from the visions of Wodziwob Gray Hair concerning earth renewal and the reintroduction of the spirits of ancient Numu Northern Paiute ancestors into the contemporary day to help them.
Central to the Natdia religion was the dance itself — dancing in a circular pattern continuously — which induced a state of religious ecstasy. The movement began with a dream by Wovoka named Jack Wilson in English , a Northern Paiute, during the solar eclipse on January 1, He claimed that, in his dream, he was taken into the spirit world and saw all Native Americans being taken up into the sky and the Earth opening up to swallow all Whites and to revert back to its natural state.
The Native Americans, along with their ancestors, were put back upon the earth to live in peace.
He also claimed that he was shown that, by dancing the round-dance continuously, the dream would become a reality and the participants would enjoy the new Earth. His teachings followed a previous Paiute tradition predicting a Paiute renaissance. Varying somewhat, it contained much Christian doctrine.
He also told them to remain peaceful and keep the reason for the dance secret from the Whites. Representatives from tribes all over the nation came to Nevada to meet with Wovoka and learn to dance the Ghost Dance and to sing Ghost Dance songs. Dance for four successive nights, and on the last night continue dancing until the morning of the fifth day, when all must bathe in the river and then return to their homes.
You must all do this in the same way.
Ghost Dance - Wikipedia
Make a feast at the dance and have food that everybody may eat. The Natdia, it was claimed, would bring about renewal of the native society and decline in the influence of the Whites. Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA agents grew disturbed when they became aware that so many Indians were coming together and participating in a new and unknown event. They told him of the great number of other Indians who were there as well, referring to Wovoka as the Christ.
And they told him of the prophecy that the next spring, when the grass was high, the earth would be covered with new soil and bury all the white men. The new soil would be covered with sweet grass, running water and trees and the great herds of buffalo and wild horses would return.
All Indians who danced the Ghost Dance would be taken up into the air and suspended there while the new earth was being laid down. Then they would be returned to the earth along with the ghosts of their ancestors. When the dance spread to the Lakota, the BIA agents became alarmed.
They also spoke openly about why they were dancing. The BIA agent in charge of the Lakota eventually sent the tribal police to arrest Sitting Bull, a leader respected among the Lakota, to force him to stop the dance.
In the struggle that followed, Sitting Bull was killed along with a number of policemen. A small detachment of cavalry eventually rescued the remaining policemen.
When it became apparent that ghost shirts did not protect from bullets and the expected resurrection did not happen, most former believers quit the Ghost Dance. Wovoka, disturbed by the death threats and disappointed with the many reinterpretations of his vision, gave up his public speaking. However, he remained well-respected among his followers and continued his religious activities.