UNDERSTANDING THE GHOST DANCE

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					UNDERSTANDING THE
  GHOST DANCE:
  PRAYER FOR AN NEW WAY
                               Black Elk
                                   (1863-1950)
   “I did not know then how much
    was ended. When I look back now
    from this high hill of my old age, I
    can still see the butchered women
    and children lying heaped and
    scattered along the crooked gulch
    as plain as when I saw them with
    eyes still young. And I can see that
    something else died there in the
    bloody mud, and was buried in the
    blizzard. A people’s dream died
                                             Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) was a
    there. It was a beautiful dream...
                                             famous Wichasha Wakan (Holy Man)
    The nation’s hoop is broken and
                                             of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) who
    scattered. There is no center any
                                             participated at the age of twelve in
    longer, and the sacred tree is dead.”
                                             the Battle of Little Big Horn (1876)
                             Black Elk       and was wounded in the Wounded
                                             Knee massacre in 1890.
           Ghost Dance Websites
   http://php.indiana.edu/~tkavanag/visual5.html
    James Mooney’s Account and Photographs
   http://msnbc.com/onair/msnbc/TimeAndAgain/archive/wkne
    e/ghost.asp?cp1=1
    Connecting the Events of 1890 and 1973
   http://www.150.si.edu/150trav/remember/r519.htm
    Ghost Shirt, National Museum of the American Indian
   http://www.dickshovel.com/wkup.html
    Chronology of Events before Wounded Knee Massacre
   http://www.sdpb.org/tv/oto/lostbird/
    Story of Lost Bird
           The Paiute Prophet Wovoka
                 (Jack Wilson)
                   1856-1932




  " I want my people to stay with me here. All the
dead men will come to life again. Their spirits will
 come to their bodies again. We must wait here in
   the homes of our fathers and be ready to meet
        them in the bosom of our mother. "
             -Wovoka, Paiute Prophet
       Origins of the Ghost Dance
   The Ghost Dance religion began with Wovoka's Great
    Revelation. On New Year's Day 1889, Wovoka had a
    religious revelation wherein he "died" and went to
    heaven.
   God gave him a dance and a message of peace to share
    with all people. He was to stress brotherhood among all
    Indian people, and between the Indian and White.
   Wovoka proclaimed his stirring message and taught his
    people the Ghost Dance, a round dance that lasted for
    five nights. Men and women, their fingers intertwined,
    shuffled sideways around a fire, dancing to the songs
    that Wovoka led.
Geographical Extent of the Ghost
            Dance
  The Ghost Dance
Drawings and Photographs by
Anthropologist James Mooney
Ghost Dance Shirts
      Sitting Bull
1831 – December 15, 1890
            Sioux Medicine Man who led 1,200
            Sioux and Cheyenne warriors
            against the US 7th Cavalry under
            George Armstrong Custer at the
            Battle of the Little Bighorn on
            June 25th, 1876. Though he did not
            participate personally in the battle,
            the chiefs were spurred on by a
            dream that Sitting Bull had in
            which a group of American
            soldiers tumbled into his
            encampment.
                                Timeline
   The once proud Sioux found their free-roaming life destroyed, the buffalo gone,
    themselves confined to reservations dependent on Indian Agents for their existence.
   The Sioux version of the Ghost Dance differed from that of Wovoka and other Plains
    groups; Sioux believed that a tidal wave of new soil would cover the earth, bury the
    whites, and restore the prairie and the buffalo.
   In a desperate attempt to return to the days of their glory, many believed that the
    Ghost Dance would hasten salvation. Many dancers wore brightly colored shirts
    emblazoned with images of eagles and buffaloes.
   These "Ghost Shirts" they believed would protect them from the bluecoats' bullets.
    During the fall of 1890, the Ghost Dance spread through the Sioux villages of the
    Dakota reservations, revitalizing the Indians and bringing fear to the whites.
   A desperate Indian Agent at Pine Ridge wired his superiors in Washington, "Indians
    are dancing in the snow and are wild and crazy....We need protection and we need it
    now. The leaders should be arrested and confined at some military post until the
    matter is quieted, and this should be done now."
   The order went out to arrest Chief Sitting Bull at the Standing Rock Reservation.
    Sitting Bull was killed in the attempt on December 15.
   Chief Big Foot was next on the list.
                                     Timeline
   http://www.hanksville.org/daniel/timeline2.html
                                                                Big Foot
                                                                as a
                                                                young
    1890 - The Ghost Dance religion sweeps across the           man and
    Sioux reservation.                                          dead at
         Sitting Bull is killed on December 15.                 Wounded
         On December 29, Big Foot's band of Minneconjous,       Knee
         trying to reach Pine Ridge and the protection of Red
         Cloud after hearing of Sitting Bull's death, are
         massacred at
         Wounded Knee Creek on December 29 by Custer's old
         outfit, the Seventh Cavalry.
                    A Survivor
               Lost Bird (1890-1920)




To support herself she
toured with Buffalo Bill’s
Wild West Show               Lost Bird was adopted by Gen.
                             Leonard Colby and his suffragist
                             wife, Clara Bewick Colby. The baby’s
                             original name died at Wounded
                             Knee, along with her chance to grow
                             up in her own culture. She became.
                             literally and figuratively, Zintkala
                             Nuni, the Lost Bird.
Wounded Knee Today




           Re-interment of Lost Bird’s
           remains at Pine Ridge Reservation
                     Religion
Ritual: Standardized activities that honor and influence
  deity.
 “A collection of rituals, organized to reflect a
  cosmology, that mobilizes supernatural powers for the
  purpose of achieving or preventing transformations of
  circumstances.”

Belief: Personal cosmology, symbolic behavior, and
  guiding principles.
 “A set of symbolic forms and acts which relate humans
  to the ultimate conditions of their existence.”
             Role of Religion
   reduces anxiety by explaining the unknown
   provides comfort by assuring supernatural aid
   provides a framework of right and wrong
   sets standards for acceptable behavior
   shifts burden of decision making from
    individuals to supernatural powers
   helps maintain social solidarity
                   Ritual Specialists
   Those who perform
    religious activities
    (performances, offerings)
                                        Mapuche (Argentina)
    on behalf of a group.               ritual specialist




                                Rabbi

                                        Indonesian ritual
        Orthodox Priests                specialist
       Revitalization Movement
    Deliberate, conscious, organized efforts by
    members of a society to create a more satisfying
    culture.
    Characterized by:
   a remembered time of calm and prosperity
   a period of collective stress, followed by
   a period of revitalization and transformation,
    leading to
   a new understanding and accommodation of
    conditions
    Characteristics of Revitalization
             Movements
   hopelessness, dire circumstances and degraded
    conditions, no recourse to ordinary channels (ex:
    legal, social)
   charismatic leader (in contact with supernatural
    forces) who has a vision through an
   altered state of consciousness (trance through
    stimulants, fatigue, etc)
   mazeway reformulation (“born again” experience,
    see the world with new eyes)
                        Syncretism
the blending of
indigenous and
foreign symbols,
rituals, and other
traits to form a
new system.

        Design Elements: Catholic
        priest, stars and colors from
        the American flag, the turtle
        who brought soil for the
        World’s creation, and birds,
        messengers to the spirit
        world.                          Ghost Dance Dress, Arapaho peoples,
                                        central plains states, about A.D. 1890
          Other Historic Revitalization
                 Movements
   Judaism was created during the Exodus crisis when the Jews had to form their society
    anew after the flight form Egypt and Moses brought down the new vision from the
    mountain in the form of the ten commandments.

   Christianity evolved in the context of Roman oppression of the Jews, with Christ as
    the charismatic leader who reformulated Judaism into the Christian philosophy.

   Islam was formulated by Mohammed with elements from Judaism, Christianity, and
    the older pantheistic religion of the Arabian peninsula (represented by the sacred site
    of the Kabba).

   Buddhism was formulated out of Hinduism by the charismatic leader, the Buddha.

    People with different mazeways can find it almost impossible to
    communicate, so violent intercultural conflict is often a feature
    of revitalization movements and emerging religions.
                     The Role of Stress
   At individual level (manifestations of malaise, underlying causes)
   At group/societal level, when way of seeing the world
    “mazeway” (system of economics, values, etc) falters due to:
   marginalization from larger society
   severe privation (food, shelter, etc)
   loss of hope for more mundane solution to problems
   leads to family dysfunction and societal dysfunction
   forms of resistance “weapons of the weak” such as work slowdowns, ‘mistakes’

Larger society’s response:
   voluntary or forced acculturation (taking up characteristics of mainstream society)
   assimilation (indistinguishability from larger society)
   annhiliation (complete eradication of group, “ethnic cleansing”)
      Contemporary Revitalization
            Movements
Fundamentalism
 Islamic Jihad

 Charismatic Christianity
                             Charismatic Christianity
                             among the Roma (Romania)
 Contemporary Social Movements
Examples:

   Peace and
    Justice
   Environment

    How do they
    differ from
    Revitalization
    Movements?

				
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