God's Red Son: The Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America

God's Red Son: The Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America

by Louis S. Warren


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God's Red Son: The Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America by Louis S. Warren

The definitive account of the Ghost Dance religion, which led to the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890

Winner of the Bancroft Prize in American History

In 1890, on Indian reservations across the West, followers of a new religion danced in circles until they collapsed into trances. In an attempt to suppress this new faith, the US Army killed over two hundred Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek. In God's Red Son, historian Louis Warren offers a startling new view of the religion known as the Ghost Dance, from its origins in the visions of a Northern Paiute named Wovoka to the tragedy in South Dakota. To this day, the Ghost Dance remains widely mischaracterized as a primitive and failed effort by Indian militants to resist American conquest and return to traditional ways. In fact, followers of the Ghost Dance sought to thrive in modern America by working for wages, farming the land, and educating their children, tenets that helped the religion endure for decades after Wounded Knee. God's Red Son powerfully reveals how Ghost Dance teachings helped Indians retain their identity and reshape the modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465015023
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 550,257
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Louis S. Warren is the W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of Western US History at the University of California, Davis. The award-winning author of several books, Warren lives in Davis, California.

Table of Contents

Figures ix

Maps xi

Author's Note on Terminology xiii

Introduction: A Hole in the Dream 1

Part 1 Genesis

Chapter 1 1890: The Messiah and the Machine 21

Chapter 2 Great Basin Apocalypse 54

Chapter 3 The Birth of the Prophet 69

Chapter 4 The Ghost Dance Arrives 93

Chapter 5 Indian Prophecy, American Magic 115

Part 2 Dispersion

Chapter 6 Seekers from a Shattered Land 143

Chapter 7 Plains Passage 177

Chapter 8 Lakota Ordeal 210

Chapter 9 Tin Stars and Holy Power 236

Chapter 10 Spirit of the Ghost Dance 254

Chapter 11 Invasion and Atrocity 271

Part 3 Persistence and Renewal

Chapter 12 The Road from Wounded Knee 297

Chapter 13 Writing The Ghost Dance Religion and Sioux Outbreak of 1890 325

Chapter 14 Conclusions: The Ghost Dance as Modern Religion 364

Epilogue: Beginnings 379

Acknowledgments 403

Notes 407

Index 465

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God's Red Son: The Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JAislynn More than 1 year ago
*This book was reviewed for San Francisco Book Review God’s Red Son is a piercing, poignant look at one of the more shameful events of our country's infancy. Warren shines a light on the factors behind the infamous 'Ghost Dance’ of the Sioux and other indigenous peoples of North America during the end of the 19th century, and how its subsequent destruction shaped much of our policies on religious freedoms. The Ghost Dance was a burgeoning religion that preached of a Messiah that would come and foster peace between the white men and the Indians,and that all of the deceased would return to life, and 'God’ would make the earth bigger, and return the vast buffalo herds. Participants would gather to dance in circles, sometimes to exhaustive frenzy. Some, but not all wore special Ghost Dance shirts, believed to be able to deflect bullets. One of the most horrific massacres occurred at Wounded Knee Creek. I have to admit, I had a hard time reading this book, because of the emotions aroused. Like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, this book elicited a visceral reaction regarding how Americans treated the indigenous peoples. Our European ancestors had no real claim to the Americas to begin with. What was done, all that was done, to the indigenous peoples was a horrific atrocity packaged as 'assimilation’. We eradicated a baby religion. What might it have become if we had not done so. Religions develop in response to a need for succour. Who are we to say one is wrong, and the other right? Of course, it wasn't about that, was it? Not really. It was a political move to keep a defeated people dejected. To 'keep them in their place’. Having Native American ancestry in my paternal lineage, this hits a bit closer to home. My grandmother, now deceased, would tell me stories of her half Cherokee grandmother. She felt the same call to the ancestors as I do, and fostered it in me. She gave me my copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a copy that had once been gifted to her by her sons, my uncle and my da. Today it is a treasured part of my vast library that I revisit every few years Highly recommended, especially if you enjoy Native American, or early American history.