The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890


The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890

Rani-Henrik Andersson

464 pages
9 photos, 3 maps, 1 table


November 2008


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April 2020


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July 2013


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November 2008


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About the Book

A broad range of perspectives from Natives and non-Natives makes this book the most complete account and analysis of the Lakota ghost dance ever published. A revitalization movement that swept across Native communities of the West in the late 1880s, the ghost dance took firm hold among the Lakotas, perplexed and alarmed government agents, sparked the intervention of the U.S. Army, and culminated in the massacre of hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee in December 1890.

Although the Lakota ghost dance has been the subject of much previous historical study, the views of Lakota participants have not been fully explored, in part because they have been available only in the Lakota language. Moreover, emphasis has been placed on the event as a shared historical incident rather than as a dynamic meeting ground of multiple groups with differing perspectives. In The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890, Rani-Henrik Andersson uses for the first time some accounts translated from Lakota. This book presents these Indian accounts together with the views and observations of Indian agents, the U.S. Army, missionaries, the mainstream press, and Congress. This comprehensive, complex, and compelling study not only collects these diverse viewpoints but also explores and analyzes the political, cultural, and economic linkages among them.

Author Bio

Rani-Henrik Andersson is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki.


"For the first time, historical perspective from Lakota accounts, both written and oral, have been given their rightful place, along with accounts from various Indian agents and the U.S. Army. . . . This book is the most well-rounded account of the subject to date."—Linda Wommack, True West

"Well written and researched, this is a landmark book on the Lakota ghost dance and Wounded Knee."—M. J. Van de Logt, CHOICE

"Finnish scholar Rani-Henrik Andersson has written what should be the first stop for those approaching the Ghost Dance and the Wounded Knee tragedy for the first time and a must-read addition to the literature for those familiar, or who think they are familiar, with them."—Todd M. Kerstetter, Nebraska History

"The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890 is highly recommended for all those wishing to learn more about this exceedingly important chapter in Native American–white relations."—Harvey Markowitz, Journal of American History

"[The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890] demonstrates how understanding a particular tribe's culture is fundamental in comprehending and writing its history."—David Christensen, Studies in American Indian Literatures

"This work is impressive in its detail and consistent in its manner of presentation. . . . I am certain The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890 will become a primary reference text on the subject, accessible to scholars and popular readers alike."—Lee Irwin, Great Plains Quarterly

Table of Contents

Illustrations, maps and tables
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Wanáõi Wachípi kë
Chapter 3: The Indian Agents and the Lakota Ghost Dance
Chapter 4:  “To Protect and Suppress Trouble”
Chapter 5: Missionary Views on the Lakota Ghost Dance
Chapter 6: “In an Atmosphere Pregnant With Mysteries”
Chapter 7: The United States Congress and the Ghost Dance
Chapter 8: Toward “A Great Story” of the Lakota Ghost Dance


A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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