- One of the last great Indian uprisings, incited by the belief
that an Indian Christ would appear and return the Indian all his lands
and bring back to life all his departed friends.
The Ghost Dance craze started around 1888
when Wovoka, a young Paiute indian, known as jack Wilson, was working on
a ranch in nevada and became ill with a fever. He believed he had
been taken to the spirit world and claimed the "Great Spirit" told him
the Indians would have their lands and dead friends back if they would
sing and dance as he directed them.
While Wilson was still ill, and his prophecy
was spreading like a prairie fire, there happened an eclipse of the sun.
The combination of prophecy and eclipse caused great excitement and
the Indians believed they had to keep dancing to remain on top of the revolving
Sitting Bull soon became the leader, and
members of his tribe, the Dakota Sioux, joined the movement, which had
grown out of a strange mixture of the Indian's and white man's religions.
Indian men and women would join hands forming a large circle and dance
and sing. Sometimes these dance lasted for days, Indians falling
into trances and having further visions.
The situation reached a climax when Sitting
Bull was killed on December 15, 1890, and Indian men, women, and children
were massacred by white soldiers at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Among
certain tribes the dance is still performed, but as a social one.
within this Site
Horse ][ Cheyenne ][ Dakota
][ Sitting Bull ]