Native American History
Native American History
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Native American History Terms

Ghost Dance

A variation on the round, or circle, dance, the Ghost Dance was an ancient Indian ritual that experienced a revival between the 1870s and 1890s. During the Ghost Dance—a five-day ritual—participants danced in a circle, often until they reached states of exhaustion or ecstasy. Charismatic prophets, like Tävibo and Wovoka, encouraged Indians to perform the ritual in preparation for a cleansing of the earth and restoration of Indian power to the North American continent.

Ghost Shirts

Ghost shirts were worn by some practitioners of the Ghost Dance, such as the Sioux, in the belief that once sanctified through this ritual, the shirts would be impenetrable by bullets shot from whites' guns.

Termination

Federal government policies pursued during the 1950s and 1960s that sought to "terminate" the centuries-long practice of treating Native Americans as members of sovereign nations. Policy supporters argued that tribal lands should be removed from collective ownership and parceled out to individual Indians who would be made subject to all the laws of the states in which they resided. Indian organizations, such as the National Congress of American Indians resisted these efforts. In 1973, President Richard Nixon formerly repudiated the policy of termination.

An end, firing, or closure

Supratribal

Indian identity or affiliation transcending local tribe affiliation. Similar to Pan-Indian.

Pan-Indian

Indian identity or affiliation transcending local tribe affiliation. Similar to supratribal.

Buffalo Soldiers

African American soldiers in the United States Army nicknamed "buffalo soldiers" by the Native Americans during the Indian wars following the Civil War.

States' Rights

This was a broad collection of beliefs that emphasized the powers reserved to the states under the Constitution. Most states' rights theorists argued that the federal government's powers were expressly defined by the Constitution, and that federal law-makers and officials should confine themselves to a narrow and literal interpretation of federal powers.

A broad collection of beliefs that emphasized the powers reserved to the states under the Constitution. Most states' rights theorists argued that the federal government's powers were expressly defined by the Constitution, and that federal law-makers and officials should confine themselves to a narrow and literal interpretation of federal powers.

During the nineteenth century, this was a broad collection of beliefs that emphasized the powers reserved to the states under the Constitution. Most states' rights theorists argued that the federal government's powers were expressly defined by the Constitution, and that federal lawmakers and officials should confine themselves to a narrow and literal interpretation of federal powers.

Lighthorse Patrols

Police force organized by the Cherokee to enforce laws on tribal lands. An important step in the nation-building process and Cherokee efforts to expand national autonomy.

Expansionism

During the nineteenth century, this terms referred to the policies and ideology supporting the acquisition of new western territories and the migration of Anglo-American settlers westward to fill those territories.

Homesteaders

A term applied to small farmers moving west during the nineteenth century. Many acquired public land through government programs such as the 1862 Homestead Act.
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