The 1870 Ghost Dance


The 1870 Ghost Dance

By Cora Du Bois
With an introduction by Thomas Buckley

368 pages
24 illustrations, map, table, index


July 2007


$25.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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July 2007


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About the Book

The 1870 Ghost Dance was a significant but too often disregarded transformative historical movement with particular impact on the Native peoples of northern California. The spiritual energies of this “great wave,” as Peter Nabokov has called it, have passed down to the present day among Native Californians, some of whose contemporary individual and communal lives can be understood only in light of the dance and the complex religious developments inspired by it.
Cora Du Bois’s historical study, The 1870 Ghost Dance, has remained an essential contribution to the ethnographic record of Native Californian cultures for seven decades yet is only now readily available for the first time. Du Bois produced this pioneering work in the field of ethnohistory while still under the tutelage of anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber. Her monograph informs our understanding of Kroeber’s larger, grand and crucial salvage-ethnographic project in California, its approach and style, and also its limitations. The 1870 Ghost Dance adds rich detail to our understanding of anthropology in California before World War II

Author Bio

Cora Du Bois (1903–91) was the first woman to receive tenure in anthropology at Harvard University, in 1954, and did important research in Indonesia and India as well as California. She served as the president of the American Anthropological Society and was the author of many books, including The People of Alor, Wintu Myths, and Social Forces in the Southeast. Thomas Buckley is an independent scholar. His most recent book is Standing Ground: Yurok Indian Spirituality, 1850–1990.


“[Buckley] treats readers to an excellent overview of early anthropology and DuBois’s place in its development. . . . Graduate students and . . . upper division undergraduates would certainly benefit from Buckley’s primer followed by a reading of the actual text.”—Oregon Historical Quarterly

"Since it was first published in 1939, The 1870 Ghost Dance has long been unavailable to scholars. Almost seventy years later, it is available once again. It remains a seminal work, provides an essential source for understanding indigenous ways, and serves as a springboard for decolonization efforts in the state of California."—John H. Monnett, Historian

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