Ghost Dance

Written November 18, 2016

“You can kill my body, you can damn my soul, For not believin’ in your God and some world down below but,You don’t stand a chance against my prayers, You don’t stand a chance against my love” ~ Robbie Robertson…”Ghost Dance “

I must admit, after doing a bit of research on the topic of the “Ghost Dance” and it’s history I am enlightened and even a bit disheartened by the treatment of Native Americans. Well, more so than when I was first taught of their trials and tribulations in my history classes. I was very moved by the information I found and decided to share some of what I read. Please bear with me as I write today. I know it’s rather long but to understand where I’m going with this today I copied and pasted some excerpts from a couple of articles on the subject.

“The Ghost Dance is a spiritual movement that came about in the late 1880s when conditions were bad on Indian reservations and Native Americans needed something to give them hope. The movement began with a dream by Wovoka, a Northern Paiute, during the solar eclipse on January 1, 1889.

“[Wovoka] claimed that, in his dream, he was taken into the spirit world and saw all Native Americans being taken up into the sky and the Earth opening up to swallow all Whites and to revert back to its natural state. The Native Americans, along with their ancestors, were put back upon the earth to live in peace. He also claimed that he was shown that, by dancing the round-dance continuously, the dream would become a reality and the participants would enjoy the new Earth.”(Legends of America website).

In 1994 Robbie Robertson wrote a compilation of songs titled “Music from ‘The Native Americans'” which basically was a biography of Native Americans and their struggles on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. “Robertson’s song grew out of…a gruesome moment on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in December of 1890 when hundreds of Native Americans were massacred at Wounded Knee Creek, and then unceremoniously buried in a mass grave, over a misunderstanding.”

“Things were getting desperate for the Indian Nations. In 1800, there were 40 million buffalo. In 1850, there were 20 million buffalo. In 1900, there were 500. Destroying these animals for the skins was overwhelming to Indian people. Out of this came a prayer of desperation called the Ghost Dance”.

The prayer dance expressed hope for two things. Robertson said, “The return of the buffalo, and a better day to come in our lives. It spread across Indian nations like mad. Washington didn’t like the name of it, and told Indians it was against the law to do the Ghost Dance. It became apparent that freedom of religion didn’t apply to these people.” The “Ghost Dance” doesn’t simply retell what happens next. He focuses on the native people’s philosophical approach to this monstrosity — so very different than our own. They convey, through a stirring lyric here, a far-sighted belief system that gives them strength through an unthinkable situation.”(Something Else webzine)

This dance, this movement, was interpreted as a hostile ritual by the Natives and directed at the white man. This in turn led to the events that happened at the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and the death of Sitting Bull as well as many, many other Native Americans. This is very similar with events that are unfolding today. This is a the number one reason why we must not alter our history books, ESPECIALLY in our schools. Because “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill

Currently, for a number of months what started as a group of Native Americans praying has since descended into chaos. For those who are unaware, the US has been working on an oil pipeline in North Dakota(NADPL). The proposed route of the DAPL cuts thru the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe along with others tribal lands that are in its path. The construction of the DAPL, including its placement, jeopardizes the environment surrounding the pipeline. “But transporting oil this way is safer and cheaper than other ways.” This is not necessarily true. According to a brief search into the number of oil spills and accidents in the US since 2000, there have been oil spill accidents in just about all of the 50 states. Some states had multiple spills. This includes all forms of transport. In North Dakota alone from 2006 through Oct. 2014 there have been numerous spills, mainly western part of state, with at least four injuries. This is in part due to the clumsiness and greediness of the white man.

Today, as I write this, large numbers of people have gathered on or near the Standing Rock Reservation to peacefully protest the destruction of the land. Nearly every tribe and non-tribal people all over this country have gathered to be Water Protectors, they are engaged in a peaceful prayer protest. They protest and pray not just for Native lands, to which the government promised as sovereign to Native Americans, but also the land off of the reservations that belong to US civilians and to Mother Earth herself. Yes, there are probably some bad people who’ve acted in a not so respectable way. Overall tho these people, these Native to America people, exemplify, are the prime example of, the peaceful warrior. A once famous man said, “Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government” ~ Buffalo Bill

Who am I? I am a white woman with mixed European blood and no known Native American blood. I have come to know, learn about, respect and love the rich culture, history and traditions of these indigenous people. People who’ve known much heartache over the centuries but are resilient, kind and giving. I am grateful to those who’ve guided me on my path and shown me love and respect in return. I have faith that they will be triumphant in their cause and alternatives will be found. I stand with the people of Standing Rock. A’HO!

To learn more about this movement that few people have heard about(because it’s not sensational enough for the news) just look up Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or Dakota Access Pipeline(DAPL) in your search engine of the internet or even social media.

The message today is twofold. First, keep history in tact for future generations to learn from our(and people in the past) mistakes. Learn the truth about the history of anything before you judge or speak about your topic. Ask questions. When we ask questions we can learn how others did things and do what needs to be done to not repeat those mistakes.

The second message for today. When our backs are back against the wall and it seems like there is no hope we need to pray. We need to ask our Higher Power for the strength to carry on thru our dark times. Then we need to have faith that He will give us the strength and courage we need to get thru.

Thought for the day: No thoughts or tidbits of experience, strength, or hope. All I ask for are prayers – no matter how you pray or your religion. Pray for the people at Standing Rock and all people that we can resolve our issues and live in peace. 

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