Preface

This study deals with only one minor phase of a recurrent series of mes- sianic or revivalistic movements which have arisen among the weaker peoples throughout the world as reactionary waves to the crushing impact of European culture. The subject under consideration has a double sig- nificance. On the one hand it is allied with a cultural category of universal if sporadic distribution. On the other hand it is bound up in its specific aspects with the struggle of northern California and Oregon Indians to integrate their cultural life to the unavoidable demands of European in- vasion. The modern cults on the Pacific Coast are more than a religious problem. They not only symbolize but also represent in part the whole struggle between two divergent social systems. Under their native leaders the Indians have sought sanction to reject or adopt the new concepts be- ing forced upon them and have endeavored to preserve some modicum of their native values.

The following study grew out of a desire to trace the introduction and course of the 1870 Ghost Dance in northern California. No preliminary problem was set beyond the accumulation of data bearing on this subject. It rapidly became apparent that any description which attempted even to approximate to fullness would have to include, however superficially, many of the theoretic approaches now current in anthropology. History, acculturation, function, and psychology were all factors that could not be ignored even though their thoroughness and depth might be slighted in a report that is of necessity preliminary for each tribal group, at least. It became increasingly evident that all approaches were inherent in an ad- equate description and interpretation. That all of these approaches have not been adequately explored is due rather to frailties of the ethnographer and the material than to any preconceived bias of departure. Everywhere preliminary historical data were essential. It seemed necessary to know the course of events before it was possible to determine what role the 1870

-xxv-

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The 1870 Ghost Dance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations viii
  • Introduction to the Nebraska Edition ix
  • Preface xxv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One: Nevada and the Klamath Drainage 5
  • Part Two: Western Oregon 57
  • Part Three: North-Central California 89
  • Part Four: Big Head Cult 271
  • Summary of Chronology 297
  • Summary of Contents 301
  • Conclusions and Speculations 313
  • Appendix ° Informants 323
  • Notes 335
  • Index 351
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