Standing Buffalo Instructed to Destroy Dance Lodge


The new Indian agent in charge of the Standing Buffalo reserve, William Graham, instructed the band to destroy their dance lodge in an attempt to stop the practice of this ritual.

The Sun Dance was perceived to be a pagan ritual and an illegitimate expression of spirituality that perpetuated Indigenous "barbarism", thus impeding the spread of Christianity and its moral norms amongst Indigenous peoples. The official prohibition of the Sun Dance, therefore, was representative of the government's attempt to assimilate Indigenous people into the values of mainstream Euro-Canadian society. The destruction of the dance lodge on the Standing Buffalo reserve is an example of another means of trying to enforce the Sun Dance ban.

Peter Douglas Elias, The Dakota of the Canadian Northwest: Lessons for Survival (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1988), 370.