In the swamps and deserts and waste places, from Florida to Alaska, the small groups of Indians that survived were dancing ghost dances
and waiting the coming of a Messiah of their own.
The Pawnee Ghost Dance
Hand Game: Ghost Dance
Revival and Ethnic Identity by Alexander Lesser.
In this volume Michael Hittman makes use of all of these accounts in an attempt to portray a multifaceted picture of the 1890 Ghost Dance
In 1889, in his forties, Chief-cum-labor-contractor Cherum took the leading role along with shaman Indian Jeff in importing the Ghost Dance
from Southern Paiutes to the Pais.
One of the Pine Ridge informants was a mixed-blood woman named Emmy Valandry who had witnessed the Ghost Dance
and events immediately before and after the massacre at Wounded Knee (December 29, 1890).
The summer of 1890 witnessed the last attempted Sun Dance and the introduction of the Ghost Dance
to the Kiowa.
Spiritual healers profiled include Ghost Dance
prophet Wovoka, medicine people Kenneth and Rita Coosewoon, and Warm Springers healer Wilson Wewa.
Among the stories included in this book are: The Beaver and the Old Man, The Old Beggar, How the Rabbit Stole the Otter's Coat, Origin of the Pleiades and the Pine, What Became of the Rabbit, Origin of Light, The Spirit Land, The Fable of the Animals, The Theft of Fire, The Creation, The Empounded Water, The Deceived Blind Men, Manabozho's Wolf Brother, The Boy Who Became a God, Song of the Ghost Dance
, A Raccoon Story, Iktomi, The Creation, Why the Possum's Tail is Bare, The Badger and the Bear, The White Faced Bear, The Elk Spirit of Lost Lake, The Raven Mocker, How the Kingfisher Got His Bill, and many, many more.
In Oklahoma, 3,000 Native Americans attend a Ghost Dance
, performing the ritual each evening for two weeks, though spiritual leader Wovoka, champion of the religious movement/performance, had advised presenting it far less often.
Among them are an elaborate bead-embroidered Otoe-Missouria Faw Faw coat with symbols, associated with ceremonialism and the desire to restore balance in a world that had become untenable, and a richly painted Arapaho Ghost Dance
dress with visionary symbols associated with ritual practices.
For these and other reasons, the Ghost Dance
movement was a much-needed source of hope; a rallying point at which many tribes of diverse and distinct ideologies could consolidate these faiths and believe that, if they managed to live kind and worthy lives, in harmony with both the whites and their fellow Natives, they would be taken to a higher plane of existence, utterly devoid of colonists, where they would be reunited with the ghosts of their dearly departed.
Chapters also address the rise of the Ghost Dance
, and what the America's bloodstained past has to say about its future, especially with the disturbing return of legalized torture and ramped-up militarization in the twenty-first century.