(c. 1865—1932)

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(c. 1865–1932)

A Native American (Paiute) prophet, who instigated the ghost dance, a millenarian movement in the late 19th century that promised beleaguered Native Americans redemption and freedom from oppression. In 1888 Wovoka experienced a vision in which he claimed the “Great Spirit” had assured him that the White invaders, who had overrun traditional lands and slaughtered the bison on which the Plains peoples depended, would be put to flight if the Native Americans united in performing the ghost dance. Wovoka's messianic movement failed to help the Native Americans. In 1890 the charismatic Hunkpapa (Dakota) Sioux leader Sitting Bull, who supported the dance, was killed while resisting arrest and shortly afterwards a group of dancers, believing that their ritual garb made them immune to bullets, were massacred by US troops at the Battle of Wounded Knee.

Subjects: World History.

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