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Ghost Dance - 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 world.

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.

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[ American Horse ][ Cheyenne ][ Dakota ][ Sitting Bull ]