In doing a simple Google search on Sitting Bull and the Ghost Dance, I found that The Ghost Dance had evolved after a Paiute man, named Wovova, had a vision that prophesied that the dead would soon join the living in a world in which the Indians could live in the old way surrounded by plentiful game. A tidal wave of new soil would cover the earth, bury the whites, and restore the prairie. To hasten the event, the Indians were to dance the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance rituals had revitalized the Lakota who had begun to wear special Ghost Dance shirts which they believed would protect them from the “blue coat’s” bullets, and frightened whites in the area. An Indian agent had wired back to Washington to report that, "Indians are dancing in the snow and are wild and crazy....We need protection and we need it now. The leaders should be arrested and confined at some military post until the matter is quieted, and this should be done now." Sitting Bull was killed on December 15, 1890, as a result of US Military action in response to this message.
In response to his death, Chief Big Foot – who was next on this list to “arrest and confine” -- and some 350 of his followers were camped on the banks of Wounded Knee, surrounded by the US Army troops. Chief Big Foot was suffering from pneumonia and had agreed to meet with military officers. In response to Forsyth’s demand that the Lakota surrender their guns, Big Foot replied that they had no guns. According to an eye witness account, a Lakota medicine man began to perform the Ghost Dance and say that they should ignore the “blue coats.” Forsyth ordered him to be quiet and sit down. As the medicine man finished his dance and began to sit, shouts rang out that soldiers had spotted guns. In the ensuing panic, the US Army opened fire with Hotchkiss guns into the teepee and encampment slaughtering over 350 people.
I have visited the site of this massacre and I could feel the energy of the fear and death from that day. The Wounded Knee memorial sits in the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the most desolate poverty stricken areas of the United States. It is hard to find and for those who are energy sensitives, a difficult place to visit.
It has been 120 years since that massacre. We have learned many lessons and appear to have improved race relations over that time. But recent news stories ranging from the shootings and uprisings in Ferguson to the recent Congressional action, which granted mining rights on Apache lands to big corporations by placing a rider on a bill, show us that we still have much to learn and much to do to overcome the subtle and not-so-subtle evils of racism in our society.
So today, I ask, that we honor those who died at Wounded Knee by taking some time to reflect on what each of us as individuals and as a society can do to increase human compassion in our society? We are all one. We are spiritual beings that are living a human existence, but all of our spirits are joined in the universal energy called God, Great Spirit, the Creator and many other names. Where injustice against some exists, all suffer. Let us take this day, in the middle of this holiday season that is also dedicated to love and goodwill to all, and make a commitment to learn to see the world as those who have suffered injustices see it and to do what we can to heal the wounds in our society.