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MDolce: Ghost dance

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.satanism,alt.pagan,alt.religion.shamanism
From: (Donn Chambers)
Subject: Re: MDolce: Ghost dance
Date: 10 Oct 1995 10:50:09 -0500

In article <45bom2$>,
nagasiva  wrote:
>[from alt.religion.shamanism: MarkDolce ]
A synopsis of the Ghost Dance movement of the last century.  It is
not exactly accurate in places, so I thought I would clarify it.

>The Ghost Dance, an actual ritual dance, was the focus of a messianic 
>spiritual movement that happened among the Plains Indians at the end of 
>the 19th century.  An Indian messiah emerged, who went among the people 
>proclaiming that the new world was at hand.  He organized dance 
>ceremonies during which the participants fell into trances where they saw 

Actually, it was not a "Plains Indian" ceremony, per se, although it
became famous because of over-reaction of the white superintendants at
the Lakota reservation at Pine Ridge.  It actually started in Nevada and
California, among the Paiute Indians.  The "messiah" was Wavoka, an
Indian man who had been raised by whites as a Christian before he
returned to the tribe in his late teens.  Hence the strong Christian
overtones in the original Paiute version.  Wavoka never "went among
the people" and preached.... the people came to him when they heard
about this dance.  Indians from all over the country came, including
the Plains Indians.  The "Ghost Dance Shirt", supposedly bullet-proof and
usually the main item one associates with the Ghost Dance, was almost
exclusively a Lakota thing.  Most other groups did not use them.

Also, the movement was practiced by only a small part of the total Indian
population, and even in the groups that did practice it, it was generally
less than half the population that did.  Some people still do practice
the Ghost Dance, although I doubt it is an unadulterated version of
the original.


Don Chambers   (        471-5573
Univ. of Texas Center for Space Research   

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