Sioux Ghost Dance and the Buffalo Dance, filmed in 1894 by Thomas A. Edison.
This is the earliest film footage of Native American dance. Though enacted here
for the camera, these group dances serve ceremonial purposes within Native
American communities, intimately connected to spiritual beliefs, the environment,
and group identity.

This page features documentation and depictions of Native American dance by non-indigenous Americans, which may reflect misconceptions or prejudices of their time.


George Catlin, George Catlin, "War Dance of the Apachees," 1855/1869. Catlin frequently depicted Native-American social and ceremonial dance traditions. Paul Mellon Collection, Image © Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington.


Learn more in Native American Dance, an essay by Jacqueline Shea Murphy.