Ms. Kehoe did a good job at tracing the practise of the ghost dance from the time that Wovoka (A Paiute medicine man) was given this ceremony to the masacre by the military at Wounded knee creek South Dakota in 1890 to the second incident at Wounded knee creek in 1973.
For people interested in seeing the ghost dance watch the dance in the movie "Billyjack" after Billyjack goes through the ceremony with the rattlesnake. I have heard that Wovoka's son or son-in-law supervised that scene of the movie.
Basicly the people would dance until they would faint from exhaustion, and while unconscious they would see into the spirit world something similar to an OBE.
On page 62: Ms. Kehoe states that Nick Black Elk (Sioux holy man) was a practising Catholic. It is true that Black Elk went to mass after he married the second time. However; the prayer that Black Elk offered on Harney peak, and is recorded in the book "Black Elk Speaks" John G. Neihardt, it is abundantly clear that his spiritual beliefs in Wakan Tanka (Sioux name for the Great Spirit) never wavered. He may have went along with Catholocism for peace in the family, or to stop the proselytizing church members. I used the same tactic early in life.
Ms. Kehoe; made one statement on page 65 that made me angry! She implies that Nick Black Elk had partial blindess by using gunpowder in his yuwipi healing ceremony to fool the indians into thinking the spirit helpers had arrived by throwing a pinch of gunpowder in the fire.
With my understanding of Sioux spirituality, and the properties of gunpowder. I state categoricaly that this is impossible! 20 years ago; I used gunpowder to reload the cartridges for my high powered rifle.
In the Yuwipi ceremony the indians remove all furniture from the room, and place quilts over the doors and windows to block all light from entering the room, and the wicasa pejuta or wicasa wakan (medicine man or holy man) has his hands tied behind his back with rawhide, and then they usualy wrap him up in a star quilt like a mummy and the quilt is tied around his body. The wicasa pejuta or wicasa wakan is placed on the floor, and the lamp is put out leaving the people in total darkness (there is no fire, and the yuwipi man is tied up in a quilt; making it impossible to use gunpowder in this manner).
Ms. Kehoe may have meant the Inipi (sweat lodge) ceremony so I will describe that to you. A sweat lodge structure is built of saplings or willow limbs, and a large fire is built to heat rocks until they are red hot. While the rocks are heating they dig a hole in the center of the structure to hold the rocks, and the removed dirt is used to build a mound to the east of the structure, then the indians cover the ground with sage, and quilts are put over the structure. Water is poured over the rocks making steam inside the structure. (It would be impossible for Nick Black Elk or any wicasa wakan to use gunpowder on the rocks. Everyone is drenched with steam, and is sweating profusely. Gunpowder will not burn or explode if it gets wet. This is the reason for the saying (keep your powder dry.).)
I am NOT asking you to take my word for any of this. You can read about the Inipi and Yuwipi ceremonies in "Lakota Belief And Ritual" James R. Walker, "The Sacred Pipe" Joseph Epes Brown, "Mother Earth Spirituality" Ed McGaa, and other sources.
I only wish Ms. Kehoe had bothered to properly research material instead of making outrageous statements such as this.
Please send E-Mail if you have questions or comments about this review. Two Bears.
Wah doh Ogedoda (We give thanks Great Spirit)