- Ghost Dance War
The Ghost Dance War was an armed conflict in the
United Stateswhich occurred between Native Americans and the United States governmentfrom 1890until 1891. It involved the Wounded Knee Massacrewherein the 7th U.S. Cavalrymassacred over 300 men, women and children at Wounded Kneeon 29 December 1890. It ended when Siouxleader Kicking Bearsurrendered on 15 January 1891.
In an effort to remind the nation of this incident, and the historic government program against Native Americans, the
American Indian Movement(AIM) occupied the Pine Ridge Reservationnear Wounded Knee in protest against the federal government on 27 February 1973. A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the AIM ensued. The militantssurrendered on 8 May.
The Ghost Dance was a Native American religious movement that occurred in the late 1800s, often practiced by the Sioux indians. It often consisted of a circle dance, invented by the Indian leader
Wovoka, or better known by his white name Jack Wilson. Wilson was convinced that God talked to him and told him that by practicing the Ghost Dance, they would wash the evil out of their lives and they would be impervious to disease, famine, and old age. This religion quickly spread throughout the entire west and Native American tribes. This dance was given this name by white settlers who were frightened by this spirtual dance, saying that it had a ghostly auroa around it, hence the name. This started the push to bring US troops into the Dakota's where the Sioux were most prominent and where the Ghost Dancewas being practiced the most. Ghost Dance [ [http://www.bgsu.edu/departments/acs/1890s/woundedknee/WKghost.html Bowling Green website on Ghost Dance] ]
Ghost Dance War
In the winter of 1890, the Sioux indians had been upset over a series of treaty violations by the US involving land divisions among tribes in South Dakota. There were a series of skirmishes over this but the biggest and most important one was the
Wounded Knee Massacre. The Sioux had encamped themselves at Wounded Knee Creek and were handing over their weapons to US troops. One deaf Indian refused to give up his weapon, there was a struggle, and someone's gun discharged in the air. One of the US commanders heard this and ordered his troops to open fire. What remained when the shooting stopped was 153 dead Indians (mostly women and children) and 25 dead US troops most of which was due to friendly fire. There was a public uproar when word of this reached the Eastern US and the Government reestablished the treaty they had broken with the Siouxto avoid any further public backlash. [http://www.learner.org/channel/courses/amerhistory/pdf/GhostDance_LOne.pdf Ghost Dance War Report by UCLA Student] ]
Wounded Knee Massacre, there were several other small skirmishes involving the Siouxand the US Government, but the most part hostilities ceased, although tensions are still high to this day. Much to the dismay of Native Americans, twenty US troops were awarded the Medal of Honorfor their actions on that day. [The Plains Sioux and US Colonialism From Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee by Jeffery Ostler] Native Americans were outraged about this at the time, and have pushed to get these medal rescinded, but nothing has been done to this point. In more recent years, there was a takeover of the Wounded Knee Memorial by militant protesters. There was a standoff between these protesters for several months, but they ended up surrendering peacefully. [Ghost Dancing and the Law: The Wounded Knee Trials by John William Sayer]
* Welch, James and Stekler, Paul. "Killing Custer". W. W. Norton and Company, New York, NY, 1994. ISBN 0-393-03657-X.
* [http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/eight/gdmessg.htm Bureau of American Ethnology report on the Ghost Dance Religion]
* [http://lupus.northern.edu:90/hastingw/baumedts.htm Editorials by L. Frank Baum]
* [http://www.viewzone.com/wovoka.html History of the Ghost Dance Religion]
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