Wovoka received a message that was said to come from God. In order for this vision to come true, they had to do a round dance that had a leader to lead the ceremony and they made a circle to dance a ritual for five days. If the ceremony is performed the wild game would come back and evil would be erased from the earth. They also had to agree to live peacefully with the white man, love each other, not fight, must work, no stealing or telling lies and abandon the old tradition of war and self mutilations. The Native Americans called this the Ghost Dance. Other communities sent delegates to see about the prophet after word spread across the Western part of the U.S. Ghost shirts were common garments for the warriors to wear in the belief that the shirts repelled bullets. They would wear the shirts to protect them from the white man. Among these communities were the Lakota Indians who picked up the ritual of the Ghost Dance immediately. The government soon heard of the Ghost Dance and thought it had a militaristic aspect to it and wanted to put a stop to it.
Lakota Indians are a Native American group in the United States, located in North and South Dakota. These groups of Indians have a very strong cultural and spiritual background. They believed in the Ghost Dance which would bring back their ancestors and take the evil from the world.
Chief Big Foot stressed peace among his people and was known for his political and diplomatic views. In 1870 Chief Big Foot, Sitting Bull and Chief Crazy Horse allied themselves against the United States Army. In 1876 they saw their first encounter with the U.S. army during the Sioux War which led them to surrender. The government placed the Indians on the Cheyenne River Reservation where they had to adapt to the new living arrangements. The government wanted them to learn the white man’s traditions and cultures. The Lakota Indians were expected to farm, raise livestock and send their children to school. The conditions on the reservations were so bad that starvation was upon them, causing them to practice the Ghost Dance more often. The Bureau of Indian Affairs agents were afraid of the impact the Ghost Dance would have and requested U.S. troops get involved to bring about order to prevent any uprisings. The government tried to outlaw the religious practices by the Lakota Indians in 1890.
The Ghost Dance deals with fears, anger and hope brought on by white people, government and the U.S. army. The Lakota Indians had their land taken away from them and their lifestyle changed by the U.S. government. Almost all Indians were on reservations by 1880 which were so bad that the white man didn’t want it because it had no value to them. Treaties were put into effect to give out food and supplies but sometimes they never arrived which led to the starvation factor.
A detachment of troops were sent out in November to Pine Ridge, South Dakota to handle the uprising that was occurring. ...