The Ghost Dance of the Sioux Indians in North America. Based on sketch by Amedee Forestier. 1891
The Ghost Dance portrays a time in which the Natives would dance until they collapsed and received messages from the Great Spirit or talk to their deceased relatives. The use of black and white in this example of woodcutting hinders our understanding of this slightly however we still get a sense of the traditional native attire. The idea of the feathers in the hair of the main individual portrays the customs of this particular community. It appears to me that this is a gathering of many Native American groups as there appears to be a large amount of people attending this gathering. It appears from first impressions that there is a negative and aggressive event taking place however on further inspection we see that they are simply following tradition. It appears that many of them are holding what appearing to be weaponry however we could see that this may be to defend themselves from sin. The two people in the forefront of the image are the elderly member of this community observing the other taking part in the Ghost Dance as they are too old and respected by the other members. There appears to be mainly men in this image however towards the back of the image we see one woman, this may be as it’s from the prospective of a male or that the tribes are mainly controlled by the males while the females are the less significant figures in the group.
It was created at a time when the Natives felt they were losing touch with their traditions and being influenced by the white settlers. They were beginning to fall into the habits of alcohol and a breakdown of family and community spirits.