Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The Paiute Messiah Character Analysis

Mysterious Native American figure who launched the Ghost Dance movement in the 1880s and 1890s. The Ghost Dance movement was, for all intents and purposes, a Christian sect that embraced many Native American customs and rituals. While the movement was pacifist, it was regarded as a threat to the U.S. establishment. Though Brown mentions the Messiah only a handful of times in his book, the Messiah’s influence in the late 19th century was massive: he succeeded in uniting dozens of disparate tribes. And this, some historians have argued, is precisely what the United States found so dangerous about the Messiah, and the Ghost Dance Movement: the less divided the Native Americans became, the harder they were to conquer.

The Paiute Messiah Quotes in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee quotes below are all either spoken by The Paiute Messiah or refer to The Paiute Messiah. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Genocide Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee published in 2007.
Chapter 18 Quotes

“You must not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone. You must not fight. Do right always,” the Messiah commanded. Preaching nonviolence and brotherly love, the doctrine called for no action by the Indians except to dance and sing. The Messiah would bring the resurrection. But because the Indians were dancing, the agents became alarmed and notified the soldiers, and the soldiers began to march.

Related Characters: The Paiute Messiah (speaker)
Page Number: 435
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Paiute Messiah Character Timeline in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The timeline below shows where the character The Paiute Messiah appears in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18: Dance of the Ghosts
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
In the early 1890s, news of the mysterious Paiute Messiah spread across the country. The Messiah practiced a new religion called Ghost Dance, and he... (full context)