Wovoka The Life and Legacy of the Pr..., Charles River Editors
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Wovoka: The Life and Legacy of the Prophet of the Ghost Dance Movement

Narrator: Jim D. Johnston

Unabridged: 1 hr 8 min

Format: Digital Audiobook Download

Published: 01/31/2023


Wovoka (1867-1932), the Ghost Dance Prophet, was a member of the Walker River band of Paiutes, in western Nevada. The Walker River Reservation was established in 1859 and was Wokova’s home off and on for years. Wovoka was also known as Jack Wilson, a name he acquired while he was, for some years, employed on the David Wilson family ranch in the Mason Valley. At that time in Nevada, Indians not living on a reservation often lived on a ranch. Wovoka was exposed to the pious Wilson family’s daily Bible readings, and that may have helped shape his own beliefs.His father was a traditional medicine man, himself a devotee of an earlier prophet. In 1889, Wovoka followed his father in also becoming a medicine man. The year, Wovoka had a series of visions that led to what is sometimes called the Ghost Dance religion, which spread like wildfire across much of the West in 1889 and 1890.Wovoka’s 1889 visions grew into a new religion that gripped the hopes and imaginations of dozens of tribal groups, and it eventually extended over much of the West. It was a kind of antidote for defeat and cultural dislocation. The Lakota Sioux in particular were so caught up in the Ghost Dance and their adaptation of Wovoka’s revelations that they remain strongly associated with the Ghost Dance more than a century later.