Nakaidokilini (d. 1881)

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Nakaidokilini (d. 1881)

Nakaidokilini or Nochaydel-klinne was an Apache visionary who emerged in 1881 during the time that the U.S. government's attempts at pacification of the Native American population was being hampered by Geronimo. During a lull in the ongoing hostilities, Nakaidokilini emerged claiming that he possessed power to raise the dead and that he regularly communed with spirit entities. He also brought the welcome message that the whites would soon be driven from the land. From his spirit contacts he had learned a dance that he taught his followers. With Nakaidokilini assuming a position in the center, dancers would be arranged in lines outward, much as spokes on a wagon wheel. They faced inward and as they moved in a circular pattern around him, he sprinkled them with hoddentin, a sacred yellow powder made from the pollen of the tule-rush, a plant widely used by the Apache.

In June of 1881, he asserted his position by offering to raise two prominent Apache chiefs who had been recently killed, if a sufficient number of blankets and horses were brought to him. The excited Apache accumulated the horses and blankets with the understanding that they would seek the return of their property if the chiefs did not reappear. Nakaidokilini began his spiritual work and the dancers kept up the new dance they had been taught. After a few days, the prophet announced that the chiefs would not return until the whites were out of the land, and that they would be gone before the corn was ripe (it was already July).

The antiwhite statements called the government's attention to the prophet and his followers, and white officials decided to arrest him. They had learned that at the end of August he was to make an appearance at the area designated for the dancing. Eighty-six soldiers and 26 Native scouts arrived at the spot and placed Nakaidokilini under arrest. On their way back to their post, the soldiers were attacked, with their scouts joining the attackers. They fought off their attackers, but in the process Nakaidokilini was killed. His movement soon fell apart.


Debo, Angie. A History of the Indians of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.

Mooney, James. "The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890." In the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology. Compiled by J. W. Powell. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896.