Talk:Ghost Dance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Former good article Ghost Dance was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Native Americans, Aboriginal peoples, and related indigenous peoples of North America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
WikiProject Religion / New religious movements (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by New religious movements work group (marked as Top-importance).
WikiProject South Dakota (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject South Dakota, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of South Dakota on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Anthropology (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Anthropology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Anthropology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject Oklahoma (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Oklahoma, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of Oklahoma on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

older entries[edit]

Isn't the actual religious movement also with a capital D? If so, that should be here and the novel moved to Ghost Dance (novel). Tuf-Kat

The oggfile link should be removed if no one is planning to direct it to somewhere... I'd like to hear the song, though:)

Fixed. Tuf-Kat 17:49, Apr 22, 2004 (UTC)

this article has two articles in it which need to be merged, and the section on the book needs to be split off. Badanedwa 22:23, Jun 16, 2004 (UTC)

Novel moved to Ghost Dance (novel). --Rosenzweig 18:01, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

In edits made on 20 Jan 2005, I removed the link to Cargo cult because, although the Ghost Dance is similiar to many other religious movements, it does not resemble a cargo cult in any way. Also, I removed an external link to a peyote page because the Ghost Dance is not related to any such substance. CPret 22:37, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Fictional References[edit]

Would it be OK to include pop culture references such as the Ghost Dance conducted in the Shadowrun universe?


My AP US History book "The American Pageant" called the Ghost Dance movement a "cult." Should I make note of that in the article of bias opinions about this movement? The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

If it's relevant, cite the title, author, publisher, etc. You might include a quote to show context, and maybe something about exactly what the authors mean by 'cult,' and why that's important. Tom Harrison Talk 02:04, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Name of the Ghost Dance[edit]

Many members of my family are planning on participating in the revival of the "Ghost Dance" this coming May. One correction I'd like to float out there is that the true name of what's called the "Ghost Dance" be recognized. I noticed there's a section calling it the Natdia, but the name I'm most familiar with is Na'a Nugga, a Paiute word. Also, if there's no objection, I'd like to add to the article by recognizing the ceremony taking place in May on the Walker River Reservation, where Wovoka is buried. Bubbagove 20:28, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

I would like to see an etymology and historical development and general discussion of the term "Ghost Dance" in this article. My understanding from a now unremembered though reputable and recent source, is that Ghost Dance is a mistranslation and inappropriate rendering of the term and concept in English... an appropriate rendering would be "Spirit Dance".
Namaste in Agape
Walking my talk in Beauty
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 05:42, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
So there are still adherents of the Ghost Dance? My principal disappointment with this article is that it fails to cover its post-1890 history. It gives the impression that with the Wounded Knee massacre, the entire religious movement vanished. Adding this material would greatly improve this article, & help address the problem of Wikipedia's systemic bias. -- llywrch 16:10, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Drastic Changes[edit]

I've made comsiderable changes to this article unfortunately erasing ample amounts of previous work. I feel the article is stronger for it but don't want to step on anyone's toes. Any input would be greatly appreciated and I encourage everyone to compare the current article with the previous versions. Tuna027 20:07, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

I've made my own revisions, and I still think this article could use a MASSIVE overhaul. More sources would be nice, as those cited seem to come primarily from one author and are frequently inaccurate. There are many passages that read like a love-note to the movement, or at the very least like an evengelical tractate. Also, while the following section is one of the few genuinely accurate and historically fascinating passages, I'm not entirely certain of its relevance to the topic at hand:
Big Foot, a Sioux leader on the U.S. Army’s list of troublemaking Indians, was stopped while en route to convene with the remaining Sioux chiefs. U.S. Army officers forced him and his people to relocate to a small camp close to the Pine Ridge Agency so that the soldiers could be more closely watch the old chief. That evening, December 28th, the small band of Sioux erected their tipis on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. The following day during an attempt by the officers to collect any remaining weapons from the band, one young Sioux warrior refused to relinquish his arms. A struggle followed in which his weapon discharged into the air. Other young Sioux warriors, dressed in their Ghost Shirts, responded by brandishing previously concealed weapons; the U.S. forces responded with carbine firearms. Two bands of Native American reinforcements, the Oglalas and Brules, arrived at the creek after hearing the gunshots. When the fighting had concluded, 39 U.S. soldiers lay dead amongst the 153 dead Sioux, 62 of which were women and children.[1] / Following the massacre, chief Kicking Bear official surrendered his weapon to General Nelson A. Miles. Outrage in the Eastern United States emerged as the general population learned about the events that had transpired. The U.S. government had insisted on numerous occasions that the Native American had already been successfully pacified, and many Americans felt the U.S. Army actions were harsh; some related the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek to the "ungentlemanly act of kicking a man when he is already down." It was a major publisity! Public uproar played a role in the reinstatement of the previous treaty’s terms including full rations and more monetary compensation for lands taken away.
The mention of the Ghost Shirt seems like the only relevant point. That passage would, in my mind, fit better in an article discussing the history of Native American and U.S. relations, or in a historical article dedicated to the history of the Sioux. Also the section on Anthropological perspecitives needs some NPOV attention and expansion. --Awakeandalive1, 7 June, 2006

The relevance of the preceding passage is that it is the culminating moment of the movement; it launched the Ghost Dance into the national spotlight. The reason why I covered this brief period of history so specifically is because its differences with the original movement. I felt that was something that needed to be clear because so many other accounts of the religion miss it. However, if others feel the same way I wouldn’t contest to shortening the section on the religion’s involvement in the Wounded Knee massacre. I have found other accounts of Jack Wilson’s life that argue against Tavibo being Jack’s father, but I went with what I thought was the more creditable source. Maybe the dispute should be included in the article. Please point out any discrepancies you have found after comparing my info with that from other sources, I would like to look into it. Tuna027 05:58, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

The entire section is informative, but aside from the refence to the Ghost Shirts there aren't any apparent connections to the Ghost Dance in the text. If you could expand upon the role of the movement in the Wounded Knee massacre then it might seem more relevant. As to the apparent descrepancies, the one that stood out most clearly to me was the assertion about Mormons and their belief in a Messiah returning in 1890; the author may have conflated them with the adventist preacher William Miller and the Millerites, or one of the similar movements. --Awakeandalive1, 8 June 2006.

GA nomination promoted[edit]

I have reviewed the article in regards to its Good Article nomination. I have to say it is very close. I will not fail the article just yet, unless someone else wants to, I think it can be fixed up to standards relatively quickly and then I can consider it again.

  • The article had a severe lack of Wikilinks for key terms. I have added quite a lot myself, but I think it might still need a bit more.
  • Some terms are used without much clarification. And since there were no Wikilinks I found myself on google trying to figure out some specifics, I have Wikilinked where I could, but I don't think I covered everything myself.
  • This is one example, but check for others: the term Tövusi-dökadö is described in the first half of the article, but later on it is used again without clarification and I could not recollect seeing that term before. Since it is not Wikilinked (and in fact has no Wikipedia article) it was not too clear what was meant.
  • The country where the history took place was not mentioned in this article at all! Of course it is easy to figure out that it is USA, but this is an international encyclopedia, not an American encyclopedia, and this needs to be mentioned specifically.
  • Some local place names need to be clarified. From this article I can't tell where is Pine Ridge for instance. I have tried to look it up myself and I found that there was a good bunch of them!

I hope these issues can be sorted out. Let me know when they are.--Konstable 14:21, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Added the elements required. granted the GA. Lincher 01:17, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

It is important to remember the Prophecy of Wovoka. The Ghost Dance was to call upon the guidance, protection, and power of the ancestors. This is not a new concept to indigenous cultures. The Ghost Shirt as well is not a new concept as a invocation of protection by warriors and followers of the Ghost Dance during the conflict with the white invaders at that time. One must remember that the Prophecy includes just as importantly, the vision of Wovoka that in 7 generations those who danced the Ghost Dance would be reborn to revive, empower, and some say avenge the Red Nations. There is corollation to the Lakota prophecy of the White Buffalo calves, and the Hopi Prophecies. One elder native elder visionary/seer has stated that blood quantum and tribal membership is secondary to being native at this time, the time of the 7th generation. Those who have been born and born again on this continent carry the capacity to fulfill the Prophecy. This is only knowable to those who have received the vision. This may be to enigmatic and not academic enough for some, but is central to understanding what the vision was that Wovoka was sharing. It is also important to bringing into comtemporary understanding and realization of the vision. Istaqa

Picture of Cyperus[edit]

I'd like a picture of those Cyperus bulbs. -- 09:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC) Done Geoff (talk) 11:05, 11 August 2008 (UTC)


From what I remember of Bury my heart, the millennial version believed by the Sioux said that a layer of grassland would cover the land burying the white and the ancestors would return in railways. This is barely mentioned in the article, but since it's in a good state (kudos!) I didn't want to mess with half-remembrances. -- 09:52, 9 February 2007 (UTC)


What about some description of the dance itself? -- 09:53, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Dancing horse[edit]

One powerful passage of Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee says that, when some Indian chief (Sitting Bull?) died, his horse started to do his tricks (it was actually a gift from Buffalo Bill), what was interpreted as Ghost-Dancing by the horse. Is it notable enough? Can you check the reference? -- 10:08, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Wovoka/Jack Wilson[edit]

The article flips about from using Wovoka to Jack Wilson in an arbitrary way.

A consistent approach should be adopted. My feeling but I will bow to others with greater knowledge is that Wovoka should be used with only limited reference to Jack Wilson in the context in which that name would have been used. Definitely I feel that phrase's such as "Jack's Religion" should be avoided.

--Gramscis cousin (talk) 11:58, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree. By all means, change it. Asarelah (talk) 18:39, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Ghost Dance/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

As part of the GA sweeps performed by the Good Article Project Quality taskforce, this article has undergone an individual reassessment to ensure that it continues to meet the Good Article criteria. I found the majority of the article to be unreferenced. It also leaves me thinking, "Now I know about the background, Wilson's vision, and the dance's role in the Wounded Knee Massacre...but what is the Ghost Dance? What do the participants spend the five days doing?" I think these are the two biggest issues with the article at present.

Based on this, I feel that the article does not currently meet the GA criteria for verifiability and breath of coverage. I am going to place it on hold for one week (beginning after I notify the relevant projects and editors). If these concerns can be addressed within this timeframe, I will give the article a deeper look to ensure that it meets the criteria. If the concerns are not addressed, I will delist the article. Best wishes, GaryColemanFan (talk) 23:50, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

There has been no response to this reassessment, so I am delisting this article. GaryColemanFan (talk) 03:40, 20 August 2009 (UTC)


The article is peppered with frivolous references to "emos" and their "disgusting practices," for example. Not relevant here.

Rather than painstakingly removing each of these, should we revert to an earlier version? I am however concerned that useful edits not be lost.drone5 (talk) 07:42, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Medals of Honor[edit]

There is a line that says "Twenty US soldiers received Medals of Honor for their actions. These awards have never been revoked."

First off, I'd like a citation for this, second of all, it seems rather weasel-worded - by saying "these awards have never been revoked", it implies that they should have been. Wikipedia is not a soapbox. I argue for a citation on the Medals of Honor being awarded and for a removal of the unnecessary and biased second sentence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:17, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

   I can tolerate the claim of medals for now, pending citation, as i find it quite plausible, and if true, the story of the battle's significance is incomplete without it. As to the "never ... revoked" sentence, I quite agree with the IP. Juxtaposing it with the preceding one is an insinuation of the kind SYNTH is intended to prevent: that the event was dishonorable and cannot indicate, on the part of any federal participant, the required "gallantry and intrepidity". (David T. Zabeski gives detailed language in "Medal of Honor Review Board", pp. 214-215 of America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan by James H. Willbanks.) -- In fact, i haven't looked for discussion of the title, and some editor may just by the use of the word "massacre" in the title have had similar POV effect.
    It's plausible that there've been notable proposals for revocation, in the 1916 revocation "purge" or since (no Podunk Intelligencer editorials, thank you), and given specifics, coverage of that could be appropriate, but without specifics, it's as irrelevant as "Francisco Franco is still dead."
   BTW, my reading so far is that there have been revocations only in (or, in a few cases, confirmed by?) the 1916 review, and they numbered 911. Six revocations were on grounds of recipients being civilians (and the corresponding awards since restored), and 893 re 2 events where soldiers' cited collective acts didn't involve being in action as explicitly required. I'd like to see how many revocations among the remaining 12 (i've seen 4 names so far - two of whom seem BTW to have had, in WP, their histories merged) we can establish the grounds for; any precedents could provide important context for any Wounded Knee revocation proposals.
--Jerzyt 10:11, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Pure and utter nonsense. A factual statement that the medals are still in effect is a factual statement, not opinion, and does not turn WP into a "soapbox" nor does it involve synth or "imply" that the medals are "dishonourable" and should be revoked - notwithstanding that you may be of the POV that the actions of murdering Native Americans while in a religious ceremony was an honourable act. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:45, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Garments and Mormonism[edit]

In this article, it refers to "Garments" in terms of Mormonism as clothing that is thought to repel evil. In the LDS church, young men and women are not supposed to learn what these are for until they receive their endowments, around age 18-19. Since it can be so easily stumbled upon in this article, out of respect it should probably be edited to say that it is related to the endowment garments of Mormonism without specifically stating what they are for, or linking them to a separate article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:10, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

This is partially correct, just like the statement in the article. Members of the LDS Church know the significance of the garment prior to 18 or 19, but that is when many young men in the LDS church begin wearing the garments as a symbol of covenants they have made. It is the covenants, not the garments themselves, that those of the LDS faith believe will protect them. They do not think of the garments or covenants as some kind of garment, but rather an agreement that if they follow the commandments of the Lord, then the Lord will give them guidance and protect them from many evils. Obviously, if someone decides to run over a member of the LDS church, they don't believe that God will stop the car in mid-air. Those of the LDS faith believe that many teachings were lost after the death of Christ, but also that God sent some of His children to the Americas. If the Native Americans are remnants of this people, then it would be logical if there were similarities between the LDS garment and some of the beliefs found in Native American religions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:21, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

So... what IS it??[edit]

I see GaryColemanFan asked the same question three years ago when he rescinded the article's GA status, and nothing much has changed since then. What is the ghost dance? I get that it's a circle dance, but there's already an article about the circle dance. If the ghost dance is somehow different from a circle dance... how is it different? What made the ghost dance the ghost dance? What was the point? What was its aim? Surely it wasn't done solely to antagonize the US military with the goal of provoking the massacre at Wounded Knee. Was it supposed to conjure up spirits or something? Was it a symbolic way for natives to keep in touch with their disappearing culture? I have no idea; the article doesn't say. All I get from the article is that lots of people liked it and the Navajo didn't like it... whatever the hell "it" was.

The article covers the who (Wovoka and the Paiute), when (1889-1890), where (the western US from Oklahoma to California), how (a circle dance), and maybe the why, though that last one is a bit confusing (it's either to encourage peace and cross-cultural cooperation, or to encourage armed resistance against the US government... I can't really tell). At any rate, the what is nowhere to be found. Without knowing what the ghost dance actually WAS, the rest of the page is practically meaningless. Anyone care to remedy this? Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 05:34, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Hi Kafziel. To the best of my understanding, the "Ghost Dance" was a 19th century Native American spiritual concept, somewhat akin to the "Resurrection of the Dead" in Christianity. The practitioners believed they would be resurrected some day, if they followed the associated teachings, which actually went way beyond dancing. HTH, Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:23, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for that. Looked into the article and sources and added a bit to the introduction to clear up what it was for. Having done that, this article might be ready for a Good Article review... Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 19:30, 23 May 2012 (UTC)