Touches the Sky
In the late 1880s, a Paiute Indian known as Wovoka proclaimed that if Indians performed “ghost dances” and other ceremonies, they would be rid of the white men and prosperity would follow. In a time when Indians were starving, it was easy to follow this religion. The movement led to a sort of craze among Indian tribes, and in 1890 was one of the causes of the Sioux Outbreak and the terrible massacre known as Wounded Knee.
Schaap takes these true events and weaves a touching tale around them. The story is set in the desolate South Dakota Territory in 1890. Jan Ellerbroek, a Dutch settler, and his wife, Dalitha, a missionary on the Sioux reservation, are in search of a Sioux woman, Anna Crow. Anna is a follower of the Wovoka faith, and the Ellerbroeks are deeply concerned with her whereabouts and well-being. Schaap effectively creates a suspenseful account of this tragedy, which will help more of us understand this story.