Ghost Dance: Part 2

Of course the right to freedom of religion didn't apply to native americans when it made white americans uncomfortable. The Ghost dance gave many tribes a sense of hope and power. Whites only saw it as a prelude to war. They never bothered to ask. It's practice precipitated the massacre at Wounded Knee. Here is a 6 minute documentary.


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Comments

Anonymous said…
The gov't and army were both very concerned with religious movements among the various tribes. The reason was that Indian prophets who had powerful revelations given to them were often the motivating force behind spiritual and tribal renewal. It strengthened the Indian's resolve to maintain their identity and resist white influence. Wovoka was the prophet of the ghost dance, and Tecumseh's brother's [his Indian name meant "The Open Door"] revelation gave the impetus behind Tecumseh's pan Indian army. Before that, the Delaware prophet backed up Pontiac's rebellion.
All of these movements had the common thread of people in cultural and spiritual disintegration desperate for any source of hope and stability in chaotic cirumstances. Overall I think these movements provided some structure and hope to their people, and this still lives on with the Handsome lake movement.
As far as freedom of religion goes, the Indians involved in the ghost dance were not yet citizens.
The native AMerican church which uses peyote in thier rituals were denied constitutional protection of this practise by the supreme court.
On another topic, I read an anecdotal story of a returning Korean or Vietnam vet from one ofthe state recognized tribes in Conn. [either pequot or mohegan] who claimed he was denied the right to vote when he came back because the state did not view Indians as citizens. I don't know if this story is true but this kind of thing would not surprise me.
Dan

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