Army Mom’s Safe Haven

GHOST SHIRTS AND DRESSES

So, now, said the Father
I have given you the strength
to keep yourselves safe
from the white man's bullets and guns

So, now, said the Father
you will be able to live
and raise warrior daughters and sons.......

When you do the Ghost Dance
raise your voices
and sing

you are protected
from the white soldiers' sting

Ah, my proud people
Lakota and Sioux
I will make the whites
disappear from view
and they cannot kill you
there will not be any hurt
For I am the Father
and I have given you
the Dress and the Shirt.

©Copyright June 27, 2007 by Christina

Ghost Shirts and Dresses

Ghost shirts and dresses were specially prepared garments worn by adherents of the new religion. The above example from the W.H. Over Museum has the painted V-shaped neck, fringes, and feathers typical of Lakota shirts.

Only the Lakotas believed them to be bulletproof. Whites viewed this as evidence of the Lakotas' warlike intentions, choosing to ignore the primarily defensive character of a bulletproof garment. Although many Indians owned weapons, they would not be needed for an offensive war since the whites would disappear through supernatural means.

Songs sung at the ceremonies included one about the Messiah's, or Father's, gift of the garments to the believers

Verily, I have given you my strength,
Says the Father, says the Father.
The shirt will cause you to live,
Says the Father, says the Father.

(Mooney, The Ghost Dance, 1073)