Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/296

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284 Journal of A merica n Folk-L ore.


Osakie Legend of the Ghost Dance. In the " Harvard Monthly," Mr. William Jones, of Harvard University, a member of the Sac and Fox tribe, gives an account of the origin of the " Ghost Dance," or as the Osakies call it, Anoska Niwimina, the Dance of Peace, as related to him by the Osaka chieftain. He prefaces his narrative by relating the manner in which, while the religious enthusiasm which began about ten years ago was at its height, bands of Kiowas, Comanches, Caddoes, Shawnees, Dela- wares, and Kickapoos came on a friendly visit to a village of the Osakies, on the Canadian, in the Indian Territory. The arrival of the strangers is described, who appeared before the village at sunset. In the centre of the village was a circular space, inclosed by an embankment knee-high. The muffled boom of a drum gave the summons, at which the warriors and male children filed in and placed themselves in a circle against the em- bankment, while the women and girls sat in the middle and a great throng stood outside. When silence was obtained, the Osakie chieftain rose, urged his brothers and sisters to receive with friendship the visitors, and put up a prayer to " Our Father, Gisha Munetoa : As thou didst show to the young woman who once brought the spirit of peace upon earth, so wilt thou fill now with the same spirit the hearts of our girls, our women, our wives, and our mothers. Then they can show our men how to live, and there shall be no more war among the nations." A dance followed, and whenever a strange dancer sat down to rest, an Osakie young man stepped before him with a long peace-pipe in his hand. After the Osakie had in- voked the spirit of Gisha Munetoa by pointing a stem of the pipe succes- sively in the four directions, the dancer received to his lips and held for a moment the stem of the pipe, in the red stone bowl of which was lit, with a live coal, the sacred tobacco. Such, says Mr. Jones, is the ceremony which has been scornfully branded as the " Ghost Dance " and the " Mes- siah Craze." But to the Osakies, and those who join with them in singing its songs, in dancing its dance, and in praying its prayers, it is the Anoska Niwimina, a dance of peace. The accompanying legend, relating the man- ner in which Shaskasi brought from Gisha Munetoa the spirit of peace into the lodges of men, is then related : —

" Many winters ago, during the war in the north, in the course of an at- tack on a village, a girl escaped and wandered until she issued through hollows on a high prairie, where she abandoned herself to grief, remember- ing the destruction of her people.

" Suddenly, in this great despair, she caught the faint sound of a voice calling from afar, 'O my daughter!' Instantly she raised her head, and, pressing her clasped hands between her knees, she listened, doubting all the while whether the call were but a ringing of the imagination. And while she listened she heard again, nearer and more distinctly, 'Omy daughter ! ' She leaped at once to her feet, and, as her eyes swept the prairies round about to find whence the sound came, she heard even yet

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