Smohalla


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Smohalla

(smōhăl`ə), c.1815–1907, Native American prophet, chief of a small tribe (the Wanapun) of the Columbia River valley. He preached a religion based on a vision of returning to Native American modes of living. His followers, called the Dreamers, did not advocate force, but they caused some difficulty to the government in its policy of forcing Native Americans to settle on reservations.

Bibliography

See C. Relander, Drummers and Dreamers (1956).

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Approximately 70 years later, on the opposite side of the American continent, Wanapum tribal leader Smohalla is reported to have said to U.S.
A Gaia-like creation story accompanied these new teachings involving a male creator-god uniting with mother earth to give birth to humans, but the record of Smohalla's views prior to his mountain top conversion offered a quite different view:
The dream of Smohalla and Wovoka that a messiah would rid the American continents of Europeans was, like the early Jewish messiah, discarded, but it evolved into a smoldering sense of entitlement that cannot be debated.
At Pna, on the Columbia, in the late nineteenth century, a mystic among them called Smohalla led the chants of the Dreamers.
The Kickapoo under his leadership resisted standardized education and land division, refused to learn English, and engaged in Kickapoo dances and singing during religious ceremonies.(20) In the mid-1850s, other Nativistic religious movements in the Northwest were underway, led by Smohalla, the Wanapam dreamer-prophet and Washani religious revitalizer.
(21.) See Clifford Trafzer and Margery Ann Beach, "Smohalla, The Washani, and Religion as a Factor in Northwest Indian History" in Trafzer, 1986:71-86; and Ruby and Brown 1989:29-49.
And indeed, two hundred years later the Indian chief Smohalla had not yet been weaned from these notions and practices.
Leaders such as Neolin, Handsome Lake, Tenskatawa, Yonaguska, Yurareechen and Dlaupac, Kenekuk, Smohalla, and Wovoca (among many others) all led religious movements of return to Native traditions as a means of resisting religious oppression.