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Download Wovoka and the Ghost Dance fb2, epub

by Michael Hittman

Download Wovoka and the Ghost Dance fb2, epub

ISBN: 0913205141
Author: Michael Hittman
Language: English
Publisher: Yerington Painte Tribe Pubn (December 1, 1990)
Pages: 310
Category: Americas
Subcategory: History
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 254
Size Fb2: 1722 kb
Size ePub: 1381 kb
Size Djvu: 1818 kb
Other formats: docx txt azw lit

This is the best book about Wovoka and the Ghost Dance that I found, and includes extensive interviews .

Nevertheless, if you're interested in Wovoka aka Jack Wilson its the definitive resource.

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Wovoka (c. 1856 - September 20, 1932), also known as Jack Wilson, was the Paiute religious leader who founded a second episode of the Ghost Dance movement. Wovoka was born in the Smith Valley area southeast of Carson City, Nevada, around 1856. Quoitze Ow was his birth name.

For more, see Michael Hittman, Wovoka and the Ghost Dance (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997). For more, see Peter Cozzens, The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (New York: Knopf, 2016)

For more, see Michael Hittman, Wovoka and the Ghost Dance (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997). For more, see Peter Cozzens, The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (New York: Knopf, 2016).

Michael Hittman is the author of Corbett Mack: The Life of a Northern Paiute (Nebraska 1996). He is chair of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus.

The religious fervor known as the Ghost Dance movement was precipitated by the prophecies and teachings of a northern Paiute Indian named Wovoka (Jack Wilson). During a solar eclipse on New Year's Day, 1889, Wovoka experienced a revelation that promised harmony, rebirth, and freedom for Native Americans through the repeated performance of the traditional Ghost Dance.

Hittman's book should be read by every student of the Ghost Dance revival and by all those interested in bringing tribal .

Hittman's book should be read by every student of the Ghost Dance revival and by all those interested in bringing tribal history into discourse with conventional history in such a way that Indian voices and visions may be heard. Imaginative in its presentation and essential in its information". American Indian Quarterly. Indispensable for understanding the prophet behind the messianic movement, Wovoka and the Ghost Dance addresses for the first time basic questions about his message and life. Michael Hittman is the author of Corbett Mack: The Life of a Northern Paiute (Nebraska 1996).

Hittman, Michael (1990). Wovoka and the ghost dance. University of Nebraska Press. Retrieved 2010-04-15. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8032-7308-5. "Wovoka - Paiute Medicine Man & the Ghost Dance". Michael Hittman, Wovoka and the Ghost Dance, Bison Books 1998, ISBN 0-8032-7308-8.

Wovoka and the Ghost Dance: A Source Book for the Yerington Paiute Tribe.

A source book by Michael Hittman for the Yerington Paiute tribe.


A thorough and scholarly review of the subject, with many references and footnotes. This book is not written for popular consumption, but is essential reading for anyone interested in the life and times of Wovoka. Warning: Not easy reading.

Much of the story of the Northern Paiute medicine man Wovoka and the Ghost Dance Religion he spearheaded, have been clouded by mystery, misinterpretation, and conjecture. Whether Wovoka was a prophet and miracle worker, or simply a fraud, is a discussion left to theologians and mystics. What cannot be argued is that Wovoka and the Ghost Dance Religion he founded in 1890, captured the imaginations of many Indians of the Western Plains during the late nineteenth and early twentieth Century; as exhibited by the fact that representatives from over thirty tribes visited the Prophet during his lifetime (90). In the Preface to the Expanded Edition of his book Wovoka and the Ghost Dance, Michael Hittman states that his aim was to write an “ethnohistorical biography of the founder of the last important Native American millennial movement of the nineteenth century” (xi). Although Hittman succeeded in writing a thorough biography of Wovoka, and successfully describes the origin and precepts of the 1890 Ghost Dance Religion, the author fails to thoroughly examine the fears the Unites States government had of the messianic movement, nor did he address how non-Paiute Indians interpreted the Ghost Dance Religion; both of these events are considered to be factors that, either directly or indirectly, led to events such as the Massacre at Wounded Knee. The structure of Hittman’s biography will be discussed along with the pertinent information about the Paiute shaman and the 1890 Ghost Dance Religion, paying particular focus to Wovoka’s religious influences (hereafter referred to as the Ghost Dance Religion unless further specified). Finally, the weaknesses of Wovoka and the Ghost Dance will be addressed.
Wovoka and the Ghost Dance (Expanded Edition) is structured into three parts with endnotes for each chapter. Part One describes the four major primary sources used to compile the biography, as well as the life of Wovoka and his personality (5). It also offers a detailed account of the the inception of the Ghost Dance Religion, along with its precepts and the shamanic practices it entailed (63). Part Two offers the author’s conclusion and, and provides an essay on the color symbolism that was an aspect of the Ghost Dance Religion (179). Also found in Part two, is a chapter that addresses new information that was discovered about Wovoka since the original printing of the book; it also offers corrections to the original manuscript (195). Part Three is the appendices of all the primary resources used to compile Wovoka and the Ghost Dance (231). This third part is approximately one-third of the book, and is an invaluable resource; as it allows the reader to study the material, and come up with their own conclusions. Hittman states that his appendices include all the information, both published and unpublished, known to exist on Wovoka (xi).
Much of Wovoka’s early life is clouded in mystery. He was most likely born between 1856 and 1863, in either the Smith or Mason valleys of Nevada (27). The name Wovoka, meaning “The (wood) Cutter”, was not his name at birth (1). Wovoka’s birth name was Quoitze Ow, but he was most often referred to as Jack Wilson by both Paiutes and whites (8).
Nearly all Northern Paiutes (Numu) in the Smith and Mason valleys had an English name, most of them worked for whites during Wovoka’s lifetime, for and it was common to derive their names from their employers (53). It is interesting to note that both of the names Wovoka and Jack Wilson were acquired due Wovoka’s employment as a woodcutter at the ranch of David Wilson (49).
Most sources agree that Wovoka’s Ghost Dance Religion was conceived due to a Great Revelation experienced by the Prophet during an eclipse on New Year’s Day, 1889 (63). A scarlet fever epidemic was affecting several Numu at the time, and many believe that Jack Wilson (Wovoka) was suffering from the malady when he heard a “great noise” in the mountains, while he was cutting wood that day (63) According to his disciple James Josephus, Wovoka experienced three separate sequential visions in one night (196).
In the first vision, Wovoka died (or lay comatose) and went to Heaven (63). While there, Wovoka saw all the dead people, including Indians and whites, as forever young and living in abundance (64). Among the dead were his mother and father, both of whom were still living at the time (64).
In the second vision, God gave Wovoka the precepts of the new religion he was to found (196). Adherents to the Ghost Dance philosophy were to practice honesty, hard work, nonviolence, and racial egalitarianism (176).
In the final vision, Wovoka returned to Heaven where God gave him weather-control powers (196). The weather control powers, or bbooha, would manifest themselves in five songs to make it rain, snow, etc. (67). At the time of Wovoka’s vision, the country was experiencing an intense drought (182). Wovoka prophesied rain; and the rain came, it was this event that converted James Josephus, and other Indians to the new religion (66). Further, as part of his weather control powers, Wovoka instructed that the People were to wear red and white paint, to dance for four nights and one day in succession; and on the fifth day, they were to bathe in the river (298). They were to then wait three months and then it would rain (298). There were many other prophecies and miracles attributed to Wovoka, but the prime motivator for the success of his new religion was most likely a belief in his ability to prophesy and create rain in the Nevada desert during a drought.
The first Ghost Dance took place in January of 1889 (327). The Ghost Dance ceremony was performed in a circle by men and women with interlocked fingers (90). Dancers made shuffling steps to their left while Wovoka sat on a blanket in the center of the circle, speaking prayers to God (95). It was similar to the traditional seasonal Round Dance practiced by the Northern Paiutes during fish runs and pine nut harvesting, but unlike the Ghost Dance, the Round Dance was not necessarily led by a shaman (93).
To fully understand the Ghost Dance Religion, it is important to understand Wovoka’s religious influences. Michael Hittman gives a thorough description of what these influences were and how they impacted the new religion. This is the strongest aspect of his book.
The first major religious influence was Wovoka’s father, Numu-taivo (“Numu” meaning Northern Paiute, and Taivo meaning “White Man”) who was a shaman known for his skill in healing (29). It is common practice for Paiute shamans to bequeath their powers to their sons, and Wovoka acquired his powers in this way (143). But Wovoka was considered to be far more powerful than most Numu medicine men (143). For example, Wovoka used his healing powers in the daytime, a power that other shamans could only practice at night (181)
Another religious influence was, most likely, the Wilson family whom Jack went to live with and work for at a young age. The Wilsons were United Presbyterians who were said to study the Bible each morning (56). Presbyterian ideology preached anti-slavery, temperance, hard work, and “gaining Christ’s grace through faith” (57). Presbyterians also practiced immersion baptism, and a version of this ritual finds its way into the Ghost Dance Religion via bathing in the river (298). Further, like Moses, Wovoka spoke to God on a mountaintop; he also possessed healing powers and worked miracles, similar to that of Jesus of Nazareth (61). Also, in his Messiah Letter, Wovoka insists on the importance of manual labor (54). It is easy to see that The Presbyterian influence of the Wilsons had an important impact on The Ghost Dance Religion.
Another possible influence on Wovoka was Mormonism, as there was a Mormon community within sixty miles of the Smith and Mason valleys; and many parallels can be drawn between the two theologies (85). Particular parallels include the belief in a messianic deliver, and an apocalypse that would transform the Earth in 1890 (84). Wovoka also stated that he was invulnerable, and was said to have performed the miracle of being shot without harm on several occasions (83). His Ghost Dance Shirt, a shirt full of holes made by gunshot, has similarities to the “sacred undergarments” worn by Mormon men (84). Mormon influence may have impacted Wovoka’s religion, but there is no direct evidence of this, and Hittman points out that, shirts of invulnerability was a common feature of other several native religions (84).
Smohalla Dreamer Religion (also known as Indian Shakerism), in which John Slocum died and was resurrected, is another possible influence (79). Wovoka was known to go into trance-like states for long periods of time, and trances were common in the Shaker church; but trance-states were also part of more traditional Indian religious practices, including those of the Numu (80). Wovoka probably picked up trances from his father as part of the shamanic kit (81). Another parallel in the two religions is the significance of American Independence Day. Smohalla ideology held that the world would end on the Fourth of July, while Wovoka’s Miracle of The Block of Ice Falling from Heaven in the Summertime also occurred on Independence Day (79). However, Shaker ideology preached against farming, and was for “Indians only” (79). These teachings are in direct contrast to Wovoka’s emphasis on Indians working with, and for, white farmers and ranchers in his “Messiah Letter” (297). So, although Wovoka was most likely aware of Indian Shakerism, he would not have practiced it.
The final religious influence that must be considered is the 1870 Ghost Dance Religion (96). Wodziwob, the prophet of this earlier Ghost Dance “dreamed that he went to the place where the dead are…” (81). Wodziwob practiced on the Walker River Reservation, which is also in Nevada and in close proximity to the Smith and Mason valleys (81). Wovoka was most likely familiar with the 1870 Ghost Dance that occurred when he was in his early teens (96). However, there is no evidence that he took part in the religion, or that he had even met the prophet Wodziwob (79). Finally, the 1870 Ghost Dance was based on Wodziwob’s prophecy, in which a train would arrive from the West carrying the dead, and eradicate white men (97). After this, according to Wodziwob, the Numus would then return to their traditional way of life (97). This is in direct contrast with The 1890 Ghost Dance Religion, which preached co-existence between Indians and whites, and did not argue against modern influences (102).
Wovoka’s Ghost Dance Religion was only practiced from late December1888 to 1892 (102). The Wounded Knee massacre of the Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is most often cited as the cause for it ending (103). Moses stated, “When Wovoka heard about Wounded Knee, he understandably feared he would be blamed” (103). After Wounded Knee, Wovoka refused to see delegates from other tribes for some time (103).
Hittman argues the Ghost Dance Religion to be syncretic, in that it blended several ideologies into one (183). Government ethnologist, James Mooney, interviewed Wovoka in 1892 during the “messiah craze” (14). Mooney wrote, “His religion is one of universal peace” (18).When Mooney asked which direction Native Americans should take in the future, Wovoka answered, “adopt the habits of civilization” (18). These two statements reveal why the Ghost Dance Religion was so successful. It was adaptable to the lives of Wovoka’s contemporaries.
Of Wovoka, Hittman states, “the least that can be said is that the religion he founded ended when he wearied of rumors and falsehoods attributed to him and retired into a kind of semi-seclusion” (103). In this statement lies the most glaring weakness of Wovoka and the Ghost Dance. This is absolutely the least that could be said. Hittman seems to spend so much time lionizing his subject that he fails to address in any detail how the U.S. or Nevada governments viewed Wovoka.
It is hard to imagine that no government documentation exists, besides the report done by government ethnologist James Mooney and a smattering of letters (14). If none does exist, then why was the military in South Dakota so concerned about the Sioux practicing the Ghost Dance Religion? Nothing at all is mentioned about how the Ghost Dance was practiced by other tribes in South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, or any other states where the religion gained prominence. One of the main precepts of the Ghost Dance religion was a life of pacifism; could this fundamental belief have been somehow lost in translation when Indian delegates brought the new religion home to their tribes? Or was the religion perverted in such a way that it served motives that Wovoka would not have supported? These are major questions that Hittman fails to ask, or, at the least, fails to address in a cogent manner. Perhaps Hittman or someone else will explore this topic in another book.
From traditional Indian religion, Wovoka applied the idea that an individual’s thoughts and actions carry impact on the social and natural order (175). From the dominant Christian culture, Wovoka adopted Judeo-Christian beliefs that not only reinforced the beliefs of his own culture, but also offered a moral order that would offer benefits to adherents in the afterlife (176). Wovoka was able to synthesize contemporary religion of the dominant white culture with his own traditions in a way that encouraged a feeling of kinship between all peoples. Hittman’s Wovoka and the Ghost Dance, although lacking in its address of the political factors that ended the 1890 Ghost Dance Religion, is a powerfully successful work in its attempt to understand the motivating factors that led to Wovoka’s Great Revelation, and how the revelation was administered to his followers.
I guess there wasn't actually too many written records in regard to the Paiute Prophet Wovoka, so information is skimpy but there is enough to get a pretty good picture. The sources used were people who knew Wovoka and some articles but it didn't appear that Wovoka himself wrote anything, and tried to remain pretty much out of the limelight and never toured with any Wild West Shows that capitalized on the western freak show type medicine man and crackshot artists. Importantly Wovoka's philosophy as expressed in the book was one of nonviolence, a respect for manual labor, and interracial co-operation. how the Ghost Dance came to be misrepresented by a few members of the Souix is left to the speculation of the reader, but some insight is given. A war faction in the Souix tribe interpreted Wovoka's message in their own way as happens so often with new Messiahnic movements. Apparently Wovoka did know how to promote himself and was not above making himself to appear to be "larger than life" with his knowledge of magic( and did he in fact have a copy of the Farmer's Almanac nearby to predict rain etc.) While Wovoka's "miracles" were not explained in the book most could be explained by simple "sleight of hand" technique. The Ghost shirts may have been an income generating thing "blessed by the prophet" and sold to other Ghost Dance devotees, like baseball cards with a holy spin. wovoka appears to have been a simple, honest, hardworking person with a way of promoting himself and his Ghost Dance. Wovoka appears drug and alcohol free, yet never spoke openly against either(thereby keeping his mysteriousness and popularity intact?)In fact according to a suggestion by the author the "Ghost Dance" might have been an attempt to bring back the Paiute "Round Dance" which had at the time become less and less celebrated, so the "Ghost Dance" could have been a revival of it.
Wovoka was a fascinating prophet. During his time, he was not well understood and there were many who did not understand - did not have eyes to see - so were critical of him. I appreciate any efforts to bring the life and teachings of this important Native American prophet into public view. I have not yet finished the book, but already appreciate the author's efforts.
attention mike hittman please contact david andrews northern nevada paiute for the next book of yours. he has alot of investigations of the recent leades of the northern nevada tribes. good reading and i will bet a best seller! contact kay fowler and the special collections unr

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