Title: The Osage Indians Ghost-Dancing | Cruel Treatment of a Prospector

Date: [1892]

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A Dalziel telegram from Guthrie (Oklahama) says:—Much excitement was caused here on Thursday by the arrival of a prospector named Oliver White, who was nearly dead from exhaustion and torture at the hands of a band of Osage Indians. He was brought here in a wagon by a party of prospectors who found him perishing on the prairie. White who is in rags, and bears the marks of terrible ill-treatment, was able to state after receiving medical attention and food that while out alone on a prospecting or gold hunting tour he came upon a camp of Osage Indians. Supposing them to be friendly, he entered the camp without fear and found there were engaged in a ghost-dance. They had secured a small barrel of Government whiskey, and this, added to the shrieks and cries and incantations of their medicine-man, who was running about the place in a grotesque costume of paint and feathers, had worked them up to a frenzy. They took little notice of him when he came, being all squatted in a circle about the prophet. Shortly afterwards they all fell to dancing and yelling firing off their guns and beating drums by way of assisting the uproar. He made up his mind to leave after watching the dance for a while, but at his first movement they made a rush for him, threw him to the ground, and bound him, while they continued dancing and yelling without cessation. He was hurried to a stake and bound to it, a fire being built just in front of him. They cut off his hair with knives, and the whole band danced around him like lunatics, hurling missiles of all kinds, but refraining from inflicting any fatal wounds. The fire burned his trousers and boots, but as the latter reached his knee, and the former were of thick brown canvas, his legs escaped with surface burns, huge blisters covering both his thighs and shins. It was clear that they were eager to burn him to death, but were afraid to. They then scattered the fire by kicking the brands in all directions, and tore off his burning clothes. He was then taken out of the camp nearly naked, and sank exhausted on the plain, where he remained all night. Towards morning the Indians, who had danced themselves weary, broke camp and moved off to the northward.

A heavy force of Indian police and citizens have started after the band, and unless the ringleaders are delivered up, will wreak summary vengeance upon them for the outrage. The Indians have been very uneasy for a month past in the Indian territory and New Mexico, and this creates fear among the outlying settlers who are always at the mercy of an outbreak. Only a sharp and prompt punishment for an outrage like the present one is likely to bring them to their senses.

Title: The Osage Indians Ghost-Dancing | Cruel Treatment of a Prospector

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.114.06 (1892 London)

Date: [1892]

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American Indians Exhibitions Frontier and pioneer life Ghost dance Gold mines and mining Indian dancers Indian reservation police Indians of North America--Social life and customs Indians of North America Miners Osage Indians Scrapbooks Settler life Torture Traveling exhibitions

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) Guthrie (Okla.) London (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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