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In the years before the Wounded Knee Massacre, a Native American prophet named Wovoka had a vision that the Christian Messiah, Jesus Christ had come back as a Native American. He proclaimed that the Messiah would make the white man disappear and the buffalo would return along with other animals that had become scarce at the time. They developed the "Ghost Dance" religion in response to this news. The sight of the Great Basin and Plains tribes doing this "Ghost Dance" upset the European Americans settling in the area. They felt that the dance might be indication of an uprising. In order to avoid a possible attack, the US military decided to take some of the local tribal chiefs into custody. Forty officers were sent to the home of Chief Sitting Bull to arrest him. Many gathered in protest of his arrest and Sitting Bull resisted. A shot hit and killed the officer who had taken ahold of Sitting Bull. Violence erupted and left Sitting Bull, eight of his closest supporters, and six of the officers sent to arrest him dead. These events led over two hundred of Sitting Bull's followers to join Spotted Elk and helped fuel the conflicts that led to the incident at Wounded Knee.
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