Ghost Dance

Topics: Wounded Knee Massacre, Native Americans in the United States, Sioux Pages: 2 (634 words) Published: March 12, 2013
New Life
I believe Ivan's assessment on the American west is fair. The settlers were eager people ready to start a new life and seek what the world has for them. While the Indians were just peaceful inhabitants fighting for their land and rights, learning the ways of the white man. The vast majority of their land had been taken from them and their traditional economic systems were obliterated, and the buffalo on which they had depended on were slaughtered by the millions. Epidemic diseases such as measles and smallpox decimated the populations, wiping out whole families and in some cases nearly whole communities. Both white and Indians were struggling to find a way to live in peace. Yet obstacles still stood in the path to harmony. I would characterize this period of time as a transition of change. Settlers traveled far and it didn't take long for them to start towns and they began choosing a mayor and land claims. Within a year, there was banks, blacksmiths, dentists, stores, saloons. Mining had begun to be a full scale industry and also the most dangerous job. As the settlers life flourished, the Indians lives were beginning to become harder. The Dawes act came with a fight from the Indians, yet there was nothing they could do. It stated that their land would be broken up into pieces wich would separate the tribal structure and civilize them. The Indians had no say in the matter and must obey. While settlers were still trying to civilize the Indians, the Indians were seeking refuge in traditions and religion. The whites were taking over and the one time Indians could feel safe and at home was when they did the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance was a religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. This practice is said to reunite the living with the spirits of the dead and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to native peoples throughout the region. The Ghost Dance, they claimed, brought about renewal of native society...
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