The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance

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It can be shown that among these peoples there was an old belief in the impending destruction and renewal of the world, when the dead would return, in conjunction with which there was a dance based on supposed imitation of the dances of the dead, and a conviction that intense preoccupation with the dance would hasten the happy day. From time to time men "died" and returned to life with renewed assurances of the truth of the doctrine; at intervals cataclysms of nature occurred which were taken as portents of the end. Each of these events led to the performance of the dance with renewed fervor, only to have it fall into abeyance again when their expectations remained unfulfilled. . . .

The northwestern cult appears in the ethnographic accounts under various names: dream dance, ghost dance, religious dance, praying dance, etc. In order to avoid duplicating a well-established terminology which reserves these names for complexes in other areas of North America, I have coined the name Prophet Dance for it.

The Prophet Dance complex was known to all the tribes of the northwest interior, without exception, from the Babine and Sekani on the north to the Paviotso of western Nevada far to the south. It had penetrated to the tribes of the lower Fraser River and had reverberations among the coastal peoples of British Columbia as far as the Tlingit of southern Alaska. Eastward it took root among the Athapascans of the upper Mackenzie basin, where, if the data are interpreted correctly, it may even now be spreading in a new form.2

2Spier, L.n/an/an/an/an/a, , 5 (George Banta Publishing Co. By permission).

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Chicago: "The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance," The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed September 20, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=2F6R9VHSPMNTGEH.

MLA: . "The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance." The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 20 Sep. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=2F6R9VHSPMNTGEH.

Harvard: , 'The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance' in The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and Its Derivatives: The Source of the Ghost Dance. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 September 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=2F6R9VHSPMNTGEH.