It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Arapaho Ghost Dance Songs
Arapahoe - Anonymous
How bright the moonlight
how bright the moonlight
as I ride in with my load of buffalo meat.
My father did not recognize me.
Next time he saw me he said,
You are the child of a crow.
I am looking at my father
I am looking at him
he is beginning to turn into a bird
turning into a bird
They say the spirit army is approaching,
the spirit army is approaching,
the whole world is moving onward,
the whole world is moving onward.
See, everybody is standing, watching.
Everybody is standing, watching.
The whole world is coming,
a nation is coming,
a nation is coming.
The Eagle has brought the message to the people.
The father says so, the father says so.
Over the whole earth they are coming.
The buffalo are coming, the buffalo are coming.
The Crow has brought the message to the people,
the father says so, the father says so.
My children, my children,
it is I who wear the morning star on my brow,
it is I who wear the morning star on my brow.
I show it to my children,
I show it to my children.
The despair and nostalgia associated with the Ghost Dance reflects that period from which the movement evolved. Plains tribes faced losing their freedom and being overtaken of their homes, their beliefs and their existence. The Ghost Dance was a resurrection of the dead, a bringing back of the customs and way of life that the Indians were trying to hold onto.
Jack Wilson, the prophet formerly known as Wovoka until his adoption of an Anglo name, was believed to have experienced a vision during a solar eclipse on January 1, 1889. It was reportedly not his first time experiencing a vision directly from God; but as a young adult, he claimed that he was then better equipped, spiritually, to handle this message. Jack had received training from an experienced holy man under his parents’ guidance after they realized that he was having difficulty interpreting his previous visions. Jack was also training to be a “weather doctor”, following in his father’s footsteps, and was known throughout Mason Valley as a gifted and blessed young leader. He often presided over circle dances, which symbolizes the sun’s heavenly path across the sky, while preaching a message of universal love.
Jack Wilson claimed to have left the presence of God convinced that if every Indian in the West danced the new dance to “hasten the event,” all evil in the world would be swept away leaving a renewed Earth filled with food, love, and faith. Quickly accepted by his Paiute brethren, the new religion was termed “Dance In A Circle”. Because the first European contact with the practice came by way of the Sioux, their expression Spirit Dance was adopted as a descriptive title for all such practices. This was subsequently translated as “Ghost Dance”.
In February 1890, the United States government broke a Lakota treaty by adjusting the Great Sioux Reservation of South Dakota (an area that formerly encompassed the majority of the state) into five smaller reservations. This was done to accommodate white homesteaders from the Eastern United States and was in accordance with the government’s clearly stated “policy of breaking up tribal relationships” and “conforming Indians to the white man’s ways, peaceably if they will, or forcibly if they must.” Once on the reduced reservations, tribes were separated into family units on 320-acre (1.3 km2) plots, forced to farm, raise livestock, and send their children to boarding schools that forbade any inclusion of Native American traditional culture and language.
To help support the Sioux during the period of transition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), was delegated the responsibility of supplementing the Sioux with food and hiring white farmers as teachers for the people. The farming plan failed to take into account the difficulty Sioux farmers would have in trying to cultivate crops in the semi-arid region of South Dakota. By the end of the 1890 growing season, a time of intense heat and low rainfall, it was clear that the land was unable to produce substantial agricultural yields. Unfortunately, this was also the time when the government’s patience with supporting the so-called “lazy Indians” ran out, resulting in rations to the Sioux being cut in half. With the bison virtually eradicated from the plains a few years earlier, the Sioux had no options available to escape starvation.
Order is heavens first law