Sioux Ghost Dance Dress

Purchase Inquiry


This dress was designed for commemorative use in remembrance of the Ghost Dance. Made in the early 1950s, this item would not have seen the original ceremonies that older dresses of its type took part in. By the late 19th century the Ghost Dance and others of its kind had been made illegal, and then legalized again in the early 20th century, this all occurring multiple decades before this dress was sewn. Despite this, the dress is hardly distinguishable the from historical clothing it resembles. Hand sewn with softened leather, and then hand dyed, the dress’s design takes into consideration original techniques used by the Sioux tribes. Beautiful earthen tones accent every inch of the leather, intricately painted and dyed into the material. Prominent frilling is apparent throughout the dress, adding to its ceremonial nature.

Ceremonial clothing took many different forms throughout the multitude of Native American tribes. Various headdresses, robes, vests and other items would be adorned, many of them worn only for a single occasion throughout the year. One of these ceremonies was the performance of the Ghost Dance. The Sioux were one of the tribes to offer up a fight against colonialism, and they continued to resist against European-Americans who would force reservation treaties on the Native Americans. The Ghost Dance was a way of peacefully resisting this advancement on Sioux territory. One member of the tribe, typically a spiritual leader, would perform the dance; but the entire tribe was passively involved in the ceremony. The dancer would pray for a restoration of old lands, and an end to the advancing of the white frontier. Eventually, participation in the Ghost Dance was made illegal by the United States. Despite this the ceremony would continue to be quietly performed by the Sioux under the leadership of Chief Sitting Bull.

Item #: 0028