This is a two-page, APA formatted paper that summarizes the purpose of Leonard Crow Dogs, the purpose of the Ghost Dance and how the U. S. government works to undermine Native American communities. It is based on a true story and is in relation to the novel “Lakota Woman” by Mary Crow Dogs. The story speaks about the hardship of Mary and the Lakota Indians. Leonard Crow Dog was a very important character in the novel, “Lakota Woman. ” He was Mary’s husband and also a spiritual leader as well as a political leader of the American Indian Movement of 1960s and 70s.
His purpose was to help build Mary’s self-esteem. Through Leonard’s support, Mary was able to rebuild her self esteem by performing speeches and by supporting the American Indian Movement. Leonard gave her a way to do her own spiritual rituals which she believed helped strengthen her. Because of Leonard’s leadership participation in the AIM Movement, his son was raised freely in the traditional way of his Indian culture. Leonard was also the one who restarted the Ghost Dance even thought it was previously forbidden.
Due to the oppression from the Whites, Indians started a spiritual dance which they believed would deliver them from the oppression of the white men. They called it the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance was a way to relieve the American Native Indians from their extreme poverty, suffering and from the other hardships they encountered. They believed that the Ghost Dance would bring a messiah to them that would soon return the lands to the Indians, resurrect their dead ancestors, and restore their former ways of life (Richard P.
Muniz 2006). White people feared the Ghost dance traditions believing that the dance was not proper and that the Indians would practice witchcraft on them. Therefore, the Ghost Dance was outlawed. The U. S. Government undermined the Indian communities through reservations. Indians were required to live a segregated life. They were treated as second class citizens and to make them “perfect” for the American’s way of life, the government forced their beliefs onto them.
The government greatly attacked the Native American community way of life through sending the Native American children to an institution to break their ways of beliefs with the intention of molding them into a “respectful” American citizen of the white class. Using these schools were a great means to fix the Indian’s way of life. The government really believed that the schools were civilizing the Indian children and offering them a great opportunity for them to evolve into the white culture and Christianity.
These schools were supposed to help them to become “first class” citizens instead of “second class. ” However, the government did not understand that this was not the proper way or means to help the Indian children or Indian people at all. They were already oppressed by Indian Reservations and then placed into a school system to strip them of their cultural beliefs and then forced to accept customs that were not known to their forefathers. Mary describes the government as civilizing them with their stick or another way to say this is with discipline.
Mary states that, “children were like the victims of Nazi concentration camps” (pg. 28). The Indian Sun Dance which is another common tradition of the Indian culture and their community was outlawed by the government as well as the Ghost Dance. The Government forced many Indians into slum housing after taking their tribal lands. These slum homes had no electricity, plumbing, or technology. Most of them would have to live in the dark and in small cabins. Their way of living was very limited unlike the White Americans who had electricity and plumbing.
They were unable to find employment due to racial restrictions from white people which resulted in high unemployment for the Indian culture. Many Indians were killed due to being accused for murderers they didn’t commit. Mary mentions in the story that many Indian family members were killed. In addition, many Indian families were punished by the government for having civil rights movements with attempts to help their community to become strong. Mary’s husband was also one of the unfortunate one’s who was thrown in jail many times for his radical civil rights movements.
Dog, M. C. (1990). Lakota Woman. New York: New York.