Dancing ’til Dawn

Limited Edition Prints on Canvas

24″ x 30″ | $420
40″ x 50″ | $1020

By the 1880’s many Plains Indians were confined to reservations and dependent on a pitiful government welfare system.  In desperation these Native Americans turned to an inter-tribal religious movement called the Ghost Dance.  This circle dance promised a return to the old ways and better life that the First Nations enjoyed before the European invasion.  Having originated among the Northern Paiute and promoted by the religious leader known as Wovoka, this hybrid of ancient native religion and Christianity swept the Plains in the 1890’s. 

     Swaying before a sun rising over the Great Plains, four female dancers, clothed in elaborately painted buckskin dresses, have chanted, prayed, and danced tirelessly in a circular motion.  These Native Americans believed that proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead; bring the spirits of the dead to fight on their behalf; make the white colonists leave; and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Indian peoples throughout the region.  Having danced all night, these adherents are greeted by the dawn, a sacred time of day for Native Americans, symbolizing the rebirth of the world.  Celestial iconography of moons and stars decorate their buckskin dresses and the Maltese cross or Morning Star, being a symbol for the Messiah, also refers to the dawning of a new universe in which the problems of this present world vanish.