The Ghost Dance And Battle Of Wounded Knee

2337 words - 9 pages

The Ghost Dance and Battle of Wounded KneeDuring the United States movement westward there were many people ripped from the land they owned for most of their lives, one of these people being the Sioux Indians. There were many battles within the governments relocation program of the Sioux people; one cause of a major battle was the uprising of a religion that has been come to known as the Ghost Dance religion; and the major battle occurring subsequently and directly from the non-violent Ghost Dance religion was the Battle (or Massacre) of Wounded Knee (Massacre, 2).During the 1880's the United States government had managed to confine almost all of the Plains Indians on reservations, usually on land so poor that the Awhite men@ could conceive of no use of it for themselves. The rations and supplies that had been guaranteed to the Indians by treaties were of poor quality, if they arrived at all. Graft and corruption were rampant in the Indian Bureau; and while attempting to stem this problem, a move was made to recruit Quakers to take the positions as Indian agents, but not nearly enough Quakers responded to the call for volunteers. The Quakers who did arrive tried convert the Indians to Christianity, with not such great results.By 1890 conditions were so bad on the reservations nationwide, with starvation existing in many places, that the situation was ready for a major movement to rise among the Indians. This movement found its origin in a Paiute Indian named Wovoka, also known as Jack Wilson, who announced that he was the messiah who had come to earth to prepare the Indians for their salvation. Many representatives from tribes all over the nation came to Nevada to meet with Wovoka and learn to dance the AGhost Dance@ and sing the AGhost Dance@ songs (Jones, 25).In October of 1890, Kicking Bear visited Sitting Bull at Standing Rock. Kicking Bear told him of the visit he and his brother-in-law, Short Bull, had made to Nevada to visit Wovoka. He told Sitting Bull of the great number of other Indians who were there as well. He referred to Wovoka as the Christ and told of the Ghost Dance that they had learned and the way that the Christ had flown over them on their horseback ride back to the railroad tracks, teaching them the Ghost Dance songs. He told him of the prophecy that, next spring; the earth would be covered with new soil, burying 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. They would be replaced on the earth, with the ghosts of their ancestors, and only Indians would live there.This new religion was being taught at all of the Sioux reservations now. Big Foot's band, which consisted mostly of women who had lost their husbands or other male relatives in the battles with Custer, Miles, and Crook, would dance...

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