At the core of the movement was the prophet of peace Jack Wilson, known as Wovoka among the Paiute, who prophesied a peaceful end to white American expansion while preaching messages of clean living, an honest life, and cross-cultural cooperation. Perhaps the best known facet of the Ghost Dance movement is the role it reportedly played in instigating the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, which resulted in the deaths of at least 153 Lakota Sioux. The Sioux variation on the Ghost Dance tended towards millenarianism, an innovation which distinguished the Sioux interpretation from Jack Wilson's original teachings.
This posting is relevant because critics sometimes use the fear of Ghost Dancers to excuse the white man's genocidal acts against Indians. In general, and not surprisingly, these fears were unjustified. If there hadn't been Ghost Dances, Americans would've found another reason to round up and imprison the Indians in their way.