Ghost Dance - Encyclopedia




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GHOST DANCE, an American-Indian ritual dance, so called from its being held at night, the dancers wearing a white cloak. It is connected with the doctrine of a Messiah, which arose in Nevada among the Piute Indians in 1888 and spread to other tribes. A young Piute Indian medicine-man, known as Wovoka, and called Jack Wilson by the whites, proclaimed that he had had a revelation, and that, if this ghost dance and other ceremonies were duly performed, the Indians would be rid of the white men and restored to power. The movement led to a sort of craze among the Indian tribes, and in 1890 it was one of the causes of the Sioux outbreak.

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