By Tom Tillison
Donald Trump is the Paiute shaman Wovoka.
The phenomenon we are seeing in Donald Trump’s thus-far inexplicably successful run for the White House is reminiscent of the Ghost Dance in the late nineteenth century.
At a time when Native Americans had been subjugated by the U.S. government and most had lost all hope, a time when conditions on Indian reservations were abysmal, a spiritual movement called the Ghost Dance arose to restore hope in the people.
Led by a Paiute shaman named Wovoka, the religious awakening promised that a messiah would come and free the earth of the white man, returning the land and the buffalo to the people.
The goal of the movement was to “revitalize traditional culture and to find a way to face increasing poverty, hunger, and disease, all representing the reservation life of the Native Americans,” Maryland State Archives noted.
Enter Donald Trump.
With voters today having lost hope in the traditional parties and looking for an inspirational candidate to address their anger and discontent, Trump offers soaring rhetoric which does just that — minus any substantive details on how he will deliver on his many outlandish promises.
But Americans may want to take note that instead of delivering an answer to their prayers, the Ghost Dance resulted in travesty.
After sweeping up the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota, the movement sparked fears of an Indian uprising and eventually led to the Massacre of Wounded Knee, which marked the bloody end of the free-roaming Great Plains Indian culture.