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The Ghost Dance Essay

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The Ghost Dance

All Indians must dance, everywhere, keep on dancing. Pretty soon in next spring Great Spirit come. He bring back all game of every kind…all dead Indians come back and live again. They all be strong just like young men, be young again. Old blind Indian see again and get young and have fine time. When Great Spirit comes this way, than all the Indians go to mountains, high up away from whites. Whites can't hurt Indians then. Then while Indians way up high, big flood like water and all white people die, get drowned! After that, water go way and then nobody but Indians everywhere and game all kinds thick… (Wovoka, The Paiute Messiah qtd. In Brown 416).

Completely demoralized by the 'accidental' shooting of Sitting Bull
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Of course, as soon as rumors that the Black Hills contained gold began to circulate, this promise became as empty as any others made by the 'Great White Father' to native peoples. And on May 17th 1876, the breaking of this treaty precipitated the crushing defeat of the 7th Calvary at the hands of the Sioux nation led by the defiant, "You need not bring any guides; you can find me easily. I will not run away" , Sitting Bull (Cooke 136) in the Battle of Little Bighorn (Cooke 133-151). But this battle, though a victory over the Anglo invaders, was temporary and short-lived. By September 5, 1877 Crazy Horse was dead, Sitting Bull was in exile in Canada and "…in all the Great Plains, from Canada south, there was no longer a free tribe or a "wild" Indian. It had not taken long; in 1840 the boundary of the permanent Indian Country had been completed and the Great Plains were to belong forever to Indians. A mere thirty-seven years later every solemn promise had been broken and no bit of ground large enough to be buried in remained to any Indian that could not--and probably would--be arbitrarily taken from him without warning" (Andrist 300). The Westward expansion was on, and the push to break up and the sell the Great Sioux Reservation was supported by a "westward-pushing railroad [and] promoters eager for cheap land to be sold at high profits to immigrants"
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