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This the last of this series, and is linked to the preceding ones.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
 I've given an original song to listen to while reading. I wrote it over a period of roughly two years about Wounded Knee. A score could be sent for educational purposes. Feel free to download it and put it to good use.

Crossposted at Progressive Historians

Topics covered in this four part series have been: prior events and circumstances that led up to the Wounded Knee Massacre, Wovoka and the influence of Jesus Christ’s teachings in Wovoka’s instructions to the Ghost Dancers, the innocent role of the Ghost Dance and Ghost Dancers in the Massacre, The Dawes Act and similar governmental policies, the Wounded Knee Massacre itself, some philosophical thoughts, and now the conclusions. While I must speak of two religions by necessity due to the nature of the historical context, I am endorsing neither.


Loss of culture, loss of the buffalo, insufficient time to adjust to farming as a Nation, government subjugation, military subjugation, and Wovoka as their messiah who started the Ghost Dance are all part of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.

I asked a friend who is almost like an elder about the shirts that were said to be bulletproof last year. "Do you think that means they were defeated?" I foolishly said. He  responded by saying that I did not understand the true meaning of what they meant. I’ve thought about that a lot since.  I’ll attempt to answer the conundrum now. First, since Wovoka’s instructions to the Ghost Dancers mirrored the words of Christ, I must ask myself if Christ was defeated by the Crucifixion and the propaganda crusade  by the Council of

Nicaea and Constantine I,
who chose select scripture and terminology to consolidate their power. That powerwas used to subjugate,torture, and murder "heretics" during the Inquisition.Also, it led to the Holy Wars and the extermination surrounding the Black Death.
Renewed religious fervour and fanaticism bloomed in the wake of Black Death. This spelled trouble for minority populations of all sorts, as Christians targeted "various groups such as Jews, friars, foreigners, beggars, pilgrims and Muslims",[5] and lepers,[6][7] thinking that they were somehow to blame for the crisis.

Lepers, and other individuals with skin diseases such as acne or psoriasis, were singled out and exterminated throughout Europe. Anyone with leprosy was believed to show an outward sign of a defect of the soul.

What a testament to the death and destruction which comes when religion and politics join forces. The Black Death was approximately one millennium after the Council of Nicaea, and that propaganda is still used today.
"...The phrase "Son of God" was used in place of <Logos> to avoid any confusion on that point. The words "only-begotten" were further explained as meaning that the Word was not created from nothing, but possessed the very nature and substance of the Father.  

It was, however, by describing the Son of God as "of one and the same substance" with the Father-consubstantial-that the Arians were overcome above all. Those who insisted on this word realized this as much as did the Arians themselves. To say that the <Logos> was "of one and the same substance" with the Father meant that he was not simply "from God" or 'like God"; it meant that he <is> God in the full sense of the term, identical with the Father. It was thus the ideal means for separating the orthodox believers from the heretics, for to accept this term meant to abandon the teaching of Arius. In this way did <homo-ousion> become the byword of Nicea and the years that lay ahead.  

When these formulations were finally settled, all but two of the bishops signed; they were condemned by the Council along with Arius. Even Eusebius of Nicomedia signed. The first General Council came to an end, and before the papal legates and the bishops returned to their homes, the Emperor entertained them at a lavish banquet.

Constantine then officially approved the decrees of the Council, and set them forth as laws of the State, ordering the removal of all those who failed to accept these decrees. But the story did not end there; in fact, it was scarcely beginning..."

List of Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople  

Joseph Campbell stated in an interview with Bill Moyers something to the effect of, "Yes, the words of Jesus are mostly intact." However, his reference to other biblical content being mostly intact was negative. For those not familiar with his work, Joseph Campbell spent his life synthesizing the mythologies of religions and cultures worldwide. He shared his elixirs in the interviews he gave. One was discovering common ideas between cultures that never could have communicated.

I honestly wonder how Constantine, Council of Nicaea, and the Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople justified and rationalized these following words away.

(Matthew 23:15):

Woe to you,---You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when one becomes one, you make him twice the son of hell as you are.

But then again, "their flock" was illiterate and only "select" scripture was read to them. One could communicate to God only through the priest, they were told. Not until the invention of the printing press in 1440, would people choosing that faith have the opportunity to read the scriptures for themselves. Sadly, the opportunity to do so is still not taken. The controversy and chaos surrounding the DaVinci Coderevealed how some congregations still do not know their own church history. I read where a local pastor said words to that effect; despondently, that congregation's members were not taking advantage of the classes that were already being offered.

I used to go to church services alone in the genre of what is being labeled "Progressive" or "Red Letter" Christianity. They were quite aware of their church history in my experience. Also, I had the opportunity to ask a Baptist youth minister once if he knew what a Reconstructionist was. Not only did he, but I got the impression that he thought Reconstructionism (replacing the Bill of Rights with Old Testament law) is negative. Indeed, blanket statements serve nobody. As a result of all that's been stated, I can answer my first question.

Was Christ was defeated by the Crucifixion and the propaganda crusade ?

I would have to say no, Christ wasn’t defeated. For all I have to do to identify some of the "wolves in sheep’s clothing" is to know what he said and who claims to be one of his followers, but obviously isn’t by their actions:

(Apologies to the wolves)

Likewise, all I have to do to locate some of his loyal followers is to know what he said, and look at who does their best to live by his words:

Loyal followers
Christian Alliance

His words have survived, in spite of attempts for two millennia by brutal men to the contrary. He wasn’t defeated.

Finally, I can answer whether or not I think Wovoka and the Ghost Dancers were defeated. I must say no, they weren’t defeated. For one, I can remember a big effort to bring back the buffalo in my lifetime. Consequently, there were approximately 22,000 more buffalo in 1990 than in 1890:
A second thing is the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978:
Even though it still isn’t 100% implemented in its true intention across the country, it is a victory for the Ghost Dancers, and every Native American from the past who had to hide their beliefs and/or die for them. A highly respected elder who didn’t even know his own age and died last year spoke about it positively before his passing. His word was good enough for me. Thirdly, I heard an elder say that he finally felt that the culture of the Lakota is coming back stronger, that he doesn’t worry about it like he used to. Also, people actively go to the Oklahoma Historical Society to learn about their heritage; at the same time, science has provided a DNA test to at least verify general Native American ancestry (none of this is meant to ignore problems still existing in Native American life). Furthermore, none of that would have even been remotely considered in 1890, even if the means and technology were in place to do so, because Native Americans were not granted equal rights in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in 1868. Before the final conclusion, it’s important to remember two more events. Leonard Crow Dog who brought back the Ghost Dance at the 1973 Siege of Wounded Knee, and the Big Foot Memorial Ride.
"...A recurring dream in the mid-1980s directed a Lakota elder to begin the ride as a way to heal the wounds of the 1890 massacre. It continues today to honor the courage of the ancestors and to teach the young to become leaders...The Big Foot Ride began in 1987 at the urging of Birgil Kills Straight, a descendant of a Wounded Knee Massacre survivor. Each year, the riders have come together to sacrifice and pray for the 13-day trip from the Standing Rock Reservation beginning on the anniversary of the death of Sitting Bull and ending at Wounded Knee on Dec. 28, the day before the anniversary of the massacre..."
"...The two-week Ride started in 1986 after a dream told one of its founders that it would "mend the sacred hoop" and heal the wounds of the famous massacre. For the first four years, the ride was led in intense cold by Arvol Looking Horse, keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Woman pipe bundle in Green Grass, S.D. It is now carried on by youths from the Lakota nation, starting in Grand River near Mobridge, S.D. on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and continuing south 200 miles to Pine Ridge..."

Maybe this is what my friend meant about the meaning of the upside down shirts, that were believed to be bulletproof:
"Death Be Not Proud" by John Donne

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me...

They danced in and for peace...

Dancing in snow over a century ago,
Ceasing the fighting by giving their lives,
That the people might live in the
7th generation and beyond.

Mitakuye Oyasin
(All My Relations)

Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 05:46 AM PST.


Which way is stronger?

11%7 votes
88%55 votes

| 62 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  a couple of comments (9+ / 0-)

    First, I want to thank you for this series.  I think one of the great values of dailykos is how we are able to learn in detail about things that somehow were not covered in our formal education, and thus we are better able to make connections with current day events.

    I do have a mild gripe, but it is not your fault.  12-29 is our wedding anniversary.  I think I now know how one of my best students feels - her birthday is September 11.  Of course, my baby sister-in-law has a birthday of December 7.  I guess for any of us, if we look hard enough we can find examples of triumphs and tragedies that occurred in the past on days of importance in our personal lives.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 05:55:54 AM PST

  •  Great work, thank you! (6+ / 0-)

    If you have not read or heard this you should find it topical.....

    "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

    by 7November on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 05:57:06 AM PST

  •  This is a great diary. Thanks very much!! n/t (4+ / 0-)
  •  Great Diary (5+ / 0-)

    Much needs to be done in our schools to educate our youth in the truth that is America.  I have an English friend who knew much more than I did about the begining of this Country.  Its not taught in America. The Native Community is alive and well here in Mi.

  •  well done, Winter Rabbit (5+ / 0-)

    I'm glad I was here to recommend the last part of your wonderful series.  You really put in a lot of good effort. Thank you for taking the time to educate and add to our awareness of this grim True American History.

    I read >>> Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee as a 12 year old girl. It opened up my outlook and worldview about how governments lie and how history is rewritten to justify the murderous actions of the victors in war. I urge everybody to get a copy and read it.

    I'll be reading this diary all morning.

  •  A story (11+ / 0-)

    About twenty years ago I worked in a small museum with a large collection of objects from the Confederated Tribes of the area, which included dance skirts. Two of the oldest and most important ceremonial skirts were mounted on walls behind glass. They had been that way for years.

    After I became Curator of that museum I came across a huge collection of documents that related to the Dawes Act and the later act passed in 1956, which legally terminated the Tribe. Though tribal status had been returned in 1977, there was much documentation there that had been hidden, that was of use to the tribes and so I arranged to repatriate them. This was four years before NAGPRA was passed.

    My predecessors at the museum had not been welcoming to tribal members, but all that changed with the transfer of those documents. Soon after, one leader came to visit and asked if he could study those dance skirts. We took them down and repaired them together and then he made a pattern so that he could make a new skirt for his young daughter so that elders could teach her to dance. It was the beginning of a cultural revival. Years later, when I was working for the Smithsonian, I found out that the dance skirts in their collections were going to be loaned to the people for a ceremony. The people believe the skirts had to be danced to keep their spirit alive.

    Even though these skirts didn’t relate to the Ghost Dance or Wounded Knee, I feel the connection reading this diary. The Ghost Dance shirts did not fail. The dance skirts did not fail. The spirit of their makers live on as does the spirit of their traditions. I believe the way of peace is clearly the stronger path. It persists. Quoting Ghandi, Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

    -76W-83S It's always because we love that we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn - Kenneth Patchen

    by cosmic debris on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 06:41:29 AM PST

    •  Such an informative post... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x, bronte17, cosmic debris

      let me read it when I get back from getting breakfast. I will reply this afternoon. I want to discuss this further. That is amazing. Thankyou very, very much.

    •  good story, cosmic debris (7+ / 0-)

      The people believe the skirts had to be danced to keep their spirit alive.

      Even though these skirts didn’t relate to the Ghost Dance or Wounded Knee, I feel the connection reading this diary. The Ghost Dance shirts did not fail. The dance skirts did not fail. The spirit of their makers live on as does the spirit of their traditions. I believe the way of peace is clearly the stronger path. It persists. Quoting Ghandi, Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

      Thank you for sharing that wonderful and insightful story, cosmic debris.

      What a great experience that must have been, to mend and work on the old skirts with the tribal leader. And he then he passed on the dance skirt tradition to his grandaughter.

      If you hadn't been there to help transfer the documents and repatriate the cultural items, hands-on knowledge of this tradition might have been lost. Certainly it would have been more difficult to resurrect, if the elders had already died before passing on the old ways to the younger generations.

  •  another great diary (7+ / 0-)

    White Rabbit.  I grew up in ND and was lucky enough to have a good teacher in high school for a course in Native American History.  The text was the usual european version, but she departed from it a lot, pointing out inaccuracies and propaganda.  She also had us read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  It was a very eye-opening experience, after having experienced American history from the viewpoint of our "exceptionalism".

    I am crying right now because it was all just so fucking unecessary.

    I was back in ND recently and saw that they recently discovered that one herd of bison in ND are almost 100% bison (no beef mix) and that they will move that herd to Oklahoma (IIRC) in order to continue to try to save the original bison (previous attempts at breeding with cattle produced genetic problems).  It sounded like the project was going pretty well, numbers are growing.  Some good news.

    Thank you for this series.  I especially like your  thoughts on why the Ghost Dancers chose not to fight.  Looking ahead to the 7th generation.  Beautiful thoughts.  I hope Mr. Peltier will receive justice some day.

    Beautiful music too, thank you.  

    -7.00, -8.36 Out! Now!

    by whitewidow on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 06:56:25 AM PST

  •  Thank you again for this series! (5+ / 0-)

    In your last diary, I mentioned how the Mohegans survived here in CT, but I didn't tell the story.  Here is part of it:

    In 1827, the U.S. government mandated the forced relocation out West of all "uncivilized"
    and "unChristianized" Indians.  To protect the Tribe from these laws, three generations
    of Mohegan women: Lucy Occum Tantaquidgeon, her daughter Lucy Tantaquidgeon,
    and her granddaughter Cynthia Teecomwas Hoscott, established the Mohegan Church.
    Ironically, it served simultaneously as proof that the Mohegans had been "Christianized
    and civilized" while remaining an important symbol of tribal sovreignity.

    The church was a Congregational Church (today, that would be UCC).  But it was more than that.  It was a vessel for saving alive the traditions of the Mohegan people and for preserving their ancient burial grounds.

    An example can be seen in the life of Emma Baker:

    Emma Baker (1828-1916)
    A major force in celebrating and preserving Tribal culture in the late 1800s, Emma Baker is credited with revitalizing the Green Corn Festival, or Wigwam. She incorporated it into the goals of the Church Ladies’ Sewing Society in 1860, just before the break-up of the reservation. The festival helped galvanize Tribal solidarity during a time of fragmentation. It was Emma who recorded the desecration of the Norwich Royal Mohegan Burial Ground. She led the Church Ladies Sewing Society in their matriarchal role considering new chiefs and discussing land claims. She also chaired the Tribal Council and represented the Tribe before the Connecticut legislature. She gained and passed on a knowledge of traditional herbal medicine.

    And so what appeared to be a loss preserved the people.

    This year was the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Mohegan Church.  The event was reported in the Norwich Bulletin of Oct. 16, 2006 as follows:

    Mohegan congregation marks 175th year
    Norwich Bulletin
    October 16, 2006
    MOHEGAN -- A little church off Route 32 in Montville played a huge role in the Mohegan Tribe’s quest to obtain federal recognition.
    Sunday, the Mohegan Congregational Church on Church Street was honored during its 175th anniversary celebration for being a community center that combined Christian and tribal traditions.
    Native drumming and church bells began the afternoon celebration, which featured dignitaries, tribal members and those, such as the Huntington family, with deep connections to the tribe.
    Without the church, the tribe contends, the Mohegans would not have achieved federal recognition, which provides exemption from local and state jurisdiction and federal funding for community services, among other privileges.
    "It saved the tribe from being moved west," said tribal Chief Ralph Sturges, adding it is important to stay together as a community.
    The Indian Removal Act of 1831 forced non-Christianized or non-Anglicized American Indians to settle in the western portion of the United States.
    The church was created so Mohegans of Eastern Connecticut wouldn’t have to do that.
    The Rev. Doretta Colburn, pastor of the church, said, "It is an ageless story of the journey through human life."
    The Huntingtons were longtime friends of the Mohegans since they set foot in Connecticut in 1632, said Channing Huntington.
    Channing’s relative, Sarah Huntington, gave a parcel of land in 1831 to the tribe so it could build a church. She also helped raise funds for a school for tribal children.
    "I’m grateful the Huntingtons and the Mohegans have been friends all this time," he said.
    Montville Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz presented a proclamation from the town to the tribe, celebrating the anniversary.
    "One-hundred and seventy-five years, that shows strength," he said, adding Oct. 15 was officially declared Mohegan Congregational Church Day in town.
    State Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia; state representatives Tom Reynolds, D-Ledyard; and Kevin Ryan, D-Montville, presented the tribe with a citation from the state General Assembly.
    The Rev. Kenneth P. Weldon of Montville Center Congregational Church said he felt like Captain Kirk of the "Starship Enterprise," a fictional spaceship on the television series, "Star Trek." He explained his church was founded in 1722, and was the mother church to the Mohegan church, just as the Starship Enterprise was the mother ship.
    Tribal Vice Chairman Marilynn "Lynn" Malerba said she was raised Catholic, but the church provided social and cultural ties to the tribe.
    Norwich Bulletin.

    It's also worth noting the loyalty of the early white friends of the Mohegans over 375 years.

    The way of peace works, yes, it does.

    •  Hiding in Plain Sight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Mohegan Congregational Church

      Here is the Mohegan Church.

      •  The schronicity amazes me... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Wilma Mankiller talked about how the Baptists helped the Cherokee after the Trail of Tears in her book:
        Her first book, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, an autobiography, became a national bestseller.

        •  I haven't read it yet--- (0+ / 0-)

          and I will definitely have to get it.

          •  It's a great book... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it contains things that are hard to find elsewhere. I'm not even sure some of the information was available before she wrote it for widespread knowledge. Don't quote that though, I'm not sure.

            •  So many things are not available (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CalNM, walkshills, RosyFinch

              only known in the stories that parents & grandparents tell children & grandchildren.

              I am sure you have such stories as do I.  They are often little things, but seeing such things, putting them together, they make a larger and fascinating pattern.

              My father told me about 15 years ago that he thought he was a small part Indian, but he didn't go into details.  He was making a snide comment about whether we should try to establish Pequot membership when they were opening the casino. He didn't say anything else, but I often wondered whether it was just a joke or real.

              When I met the Cunha's who are Pawcatuck Pequots, I found out how.
              They told me it went this way:

              In 1781, there was a massacre by the British at Groton Heights. (you will see that one of the American fighters listed was a Pequot Indian, too.)
              5 men of my great grandmother Perkins's family were killed and 2 were taken wounded.  There was practically no one left to work the Perkins' land.  The Perkins who were left offered to any Mashantucket Pequots who wanted to become Perkinses.  Some took up the offer and moved to the family land.  At this point it's hard to know who is who, because they all took the last name Perkins.  When I see a picture of my great grandfather Perkins, he definitely looks like some of the Pequot pictures.

              I would not have asked though, if my father hadn't told me there was something to find out.

              In fact, all these questions about what race are you leave me smiling.  As Homer had Telemachus say, "It's a wise child that knows it's own father."  There are a lot of people who have backgrounds that they don't tell their children.

  •  rescued! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DrKate, walkshills

    Just as I had hoped and thought might transpire: Winter Rabbit's Wounded Knee diary has been rescued.

    Thanks SusanG. Now more people will get to read this.

  •  "Iif Jesus had had a handgun (0+ / 0-)

    do you think he would have won?" That was what Stephen Colbert asked the Catholic who was working toward having Gabriel Possenti declared the Patron Saint of Handguns.

    I immediately thought of the Daily Show retrospective on handguns when I read your thoughts on the bulletproof shirts.

    Check out the video called "10 F#@king Years: Firearms"

    Has Rush Limbaugh's water broken yet?

    by Cowalker on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:27:06 PM PST

    •  I'm still laughing. (0+ / 0-)

      Those guys have helped a lot.

      •  Now I finished laughing... (0+ / 0-)
        A Vietnam War veteran who teaches martial arts is a friend of mine. His opinion is that if someone has a weapon or a gun, they're afraid and can't fend for themselves otherwise. That whole "real men shoot guns" is B.S. The alcohol abuse that seems to go with it impairs judgement. I'm not talking about genuine sport, my father took me quail hunting as a child. I learned a lot about safety, etc. I don't even own one now, there's no need.

        But, I think the soldiers still would have massacred them at Wounded Knee.

  •  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    sign the petition at

    by DrKate on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 04:41:17 AM PST

  •  Thank you, Winter rabbit. (0+ / 0-)
    I'll remember on 12/29.

    I'll also read your previous diaries. (Sorry I missed them.)  

    It's important that we be reminded of these things.

    A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. Yogi Berra

    by x on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 05:00:39 AM PST

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