|Shaman Wavoka (J. Wilson)|
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|Ghost Dance by Oglala Lakota at Pine Ridge (illustration by Frederic Remington, 1890/Wiki)|
In an attempt to suppress this peaceful new faith movement, the US Army massacred over 200 Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek.
Louis S. Warren's God's Red Son offers a startling new view of the religion known as the Ghost Dance, from its origins in the visions of a Northern Paiute named Wovoka (called "Jack Wilson") to the tragedy in South Dakota.
To this day, the Ghost Dance remains widely mis-characterized as a "primitive" and failed effort by Native American militants to resist imperial American conquest and return to traditional Native ways.
In fact, followers of the Ghost Dance sought to thrive in the modern America forced on them by working for wages as ordered, farming the white man's land, and educating their children in the white man's schools [the purpose of which was to wash the "Indian" out of Native Americans], tenets that helped the religion endure for decades after Wounded Knee.
God's Red Son powerfully reveals how Ghost Dance teachings helped Indians retain their identity and reshape the modern world. Source
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Why were the white Americans so concerned about the Ghost Dance religion practiced so enthusiastically by the Lakota Sioux and other Great Plains tribes in the 1880s?
In this astute new appraisal, Prof. Warren (Western U.S. History, University of California at Davis, author of Buffalo Bill's America: William Cody and the Wild West Show, 2005, etc.) finds something to this religion:
The Ghost Dance took elements of Christianity, such as the messiah figure [of Judaism, Mithra of Mithraism/Zoroastrianism derived from the older Buddhist Maitreya concept], and wove them into a joyful communion involving movement and visions of horses and buffalo [and lost family members living happily in the Other World].
|Mound Builders (Cayce)|
However, many Americans -- since Indians were not considered citizens until 1924, Warren does not include Indians as Americans here -- felt threatened by the dances and banned the gatherings as being warlike, leading to the tragic "misunderstanding" [or purposeful misinterpretation] between the military and hundreds of Lakota at the Pine Ridge Reservation in late 1890. More