The Last Ghost Dance - Dave Morris
Mixed Media Collage on Stretched Canvas
24 x 36 x 3/4 inches (Wrapped)
Originating with the Piaute Tribes of Nevada, the Ghost Dance ritual belief was that when performed it would reunite the spirits of warriors killed in battle with warriors yet to fight. To the European immigrant base that made up most of the U.S. Army, this trance-like dance looked and felt chaotic and threatening to them. Just two weeks after the Battle of Little Big Horn, and after the murder of Chief Sitting Bull, the U. S. Army descended upon the gathering at the Wounded Knee reservation. They were on horseback and armed with repeating rifles, surrounding a collection of Ghost Dancers and their families. The Ghost Dancers and their families had very few horses and very few firearms with which to defend themselves. Although the final numbers of Native Americans killed that day, including women and children, vary greatly due to it’s place on the technology time-line, cover-ups by the military, and the politics of the time, there were hundreds of Native Americans murdered that for day at Wounded Knee.
I was raised in a liberal, non-hating family and have been appalled by the Wounded Knee tragedy and atrocity since my early teens. I found some catharsis in doing this piece and I consider it an exploration into some of the seminal beginnings of our national racism profile today.