Responding to the rapid spread of the Ghost Dance among tribes of the western USA in the early 1890s, James Mooney set out to describe and understand the phenomenon. He visited Wovoka, the Ghost-Dance prophet, at his home in Nevada and traced the progress of the Ghost Dance from place to place, describing the ritual and recording the distinctive song lyrics of seven separate tribes. His book on the subject, first published in 1896, includes cultural and historical introductions to each tribal group and depicts the Ghost Dance among the Sioux, the fears it raised of an Indian outbreak, and the military occupation of the Sioux reservations culminating in the tragedy at Wounded Knee. Seeking to demonstrate that the Ghost Dance was a legitimate religious movement, Mooney prefaced his study with a survey of comparable millenarian movements among other American Indian groups.
Raymond J. DeMallie, director of the American Indian Studies Research Institute and a professor of anthropology at Indiana University, has edited James R. Walker's Lakota Society (1982) andThe Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt (1984), both published by the University of Nebraska Press.