Wovoka was a Paiute from Nevada. He had a dream in 1889 in which he died and went to heaven, and was sent back with a message from God. This message was that if they would perform the “Ghost Dance” the days of prosperity and happiness of the native Americans would return. Their invaders would be forever destroyed.
The “Ghost Dance was not original to Wovoka. Tavibo, another Paiute visionary had spearheaded the religious movement when Wovoka was a boy.
This sounded good to Native Americans who had steady lost power over the preceding years. The first Ghost Dance was performed at walker Lake Reservation. The dance spread as did Wovoka’s influence.
The Sioux accepted the Ghost Dance with the most fervor. Under Sitting Bull the Ghost Dances took on a war like flavor. Sitting Bull’s arrest was ordered. There was a scuffle with shooting, and Sitting Bull was killed.
Wounded Knee was also a direct result of the Ghost Dance. “Ghost Shirts” were to protect them from the federal bullets. However when the Calvary came upon a group of Ghost Dancers in their shirts the opened fire. When they opened fire almost 150 Indian lay dead, and 25 Cavalrymen. In the snow at Wounded Knee, the vision of Wovoka came to an end. He died in 1931 believing he was the “Messiah.”