Friday, September 22, 2017

Waiting for the Earth to Move: The 1890 Ghost Dance

Billings, MT  Same as yesterday

We made arrangements to meet up with classmates on Saturday morning. I really wanted to go see the Ghost Dance exhibit at the Yellowstone County Museum. So a group of us headed up to the museum by the airport.

Larry Williams donated his Collection to the museum and it is the largest exhibit of Ghost Dance objects on display in the world.

I took sooo many pictures but I’m only including a few in this post.

20170916_112929The Ghost Dance was a religious movement developed in 1890 by a Northern Paiute spiritual leader known as Wovoka. As the movement spread, the various tribes modified its ceremonies according to their own mythology and traditions.


All Ghost Dancers looked toward the fulfillment of three promises, made in a vision to Wovoka by the messiah:

♦ Some cataclysmic event, ranging from a flood to volcanic eruptions, would destroy the earth, which would then be remade as a paradise.

♦ Buffalo and other game driven away by white men would return in great numbers.

♦ The dancers’ ancestors would be resurrected and live with them in the new paradise.

These are two of the Sioux warrior drums.


The Ghost Dance would take place at night for five or six nights in a row. The dance is open to all with no restrictions as to age or sex. All danced in a big circle, holding hands or draping their arms over each other’s shoulders, shuffling from side to side as the circle revolved.


The Ghost Dance artifacts are in a display area that has curtains separating it from the rest of the museum because some traditionalists are not comfortable viewing objects related to religious ceremonies. The special display case contains pipe stems, bowls and bags. In some tribes, women are not allowed to view sacred pipes.


The museum has other wonderful exhibits.

The Natives used dogs to haul their belongings.


Headdress made with Eagle feathers.


And then there is Charlie and Russell, a dicephalous Black Angus calf born in February 1949. This occurs when identical twins fail to fully separate. The calf only lived a day and a half.



Did you know that branding originated in Egypt? You just never know what you’re going to learn.


After the museum we headed out for lunch.

Mike (our class president), Wanda and her sister Bev.


Maggie’s husband Mike and Jim


Maggie, Nancy and Carol


After lunch we decided there was just enough time for a quick nap before we needed to be back for class pictures and our dinner.


  1. Interesting stuff. No I didn't not know branding originated in Egypt. Neither did Doug and he is very smart.

  2. What an interesting fun time your had there, keep enjoying this as much as you can. And Lotsa pictures too!

  3. What a great museum, all the displays are so well preserved.

  4. I hope the pictures were before dinner as so many of us tend to wear our dinners. :)


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