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Keywords

Colonization; Ghost dance; Imperialism; Indians of North America; Nativistic movements; South Africa; West (U.S.); Xhosa (African people); Xhosa Cattle-Killing (South Africa : 1856-1857)

Abstract

In 1856, a fourteen year old girl named Nongqawuse (non-see) had a vision on the banks of the Gxarha River in southern Africa. Entranced, she saw dearly departed ancestors, their cattle hiding in the rushes, and she heard other cattle underground waiting to come forth. She was told that if her people would but kill all their cattle, their ancestors would arise from the dead, the cattle lowing in the subterranean passages would come forth, and all the whites would be swept into the sea. Nongqawuse’s prophecy provoked the colonially embittered Xhosa (cōe-săh) people to rise up and kill their cattle. As the movement drew to a close, around 400,000 cattle had been slaughtered and an estimated 80,000 Xhosa died of starvation. Those that remained were reduced to working as laborers throughout the Cape Colony after being pushed off some 600,000 acres of their ancestral lands.


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