North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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There are few more pathetic sights than that of an Indian ghost dance,— pathetic in itself, not to consider the gloomy background of fear inspired by it in the minds of so many of our own race who have so widely misunderstood its meaning. The ceremony is but an appeal to the unseen world to come near and to comfort those who have been over­taken in the land of their fathers by conditions both strange and incomprehensible.
The ghost or spirit dance is a modified survival of several ancient ceremonies, blended into one and touched here and there with ideas borrowed from our own race.
In the hypnotic vision which follows the monoto­nous dance, the landscape of his former days, un­touched by the white man, appears to the "con­trolled" Indian: the streams wander through un­broken prairie; no roadways, no fields of wheat, intrude upon the broad stretches of native grasses; the vanished herds of buffalo come back to their grazing-grounds; the deer and the antelope, the wolf and the bear, are again in the land; and the eagles look down on the Indian villages, where are to be
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