Any comparision between the Lakota Ghostdancers and the Sami rebellion in Kautokeino could be questioned, and might not be valid at all. Yet there's a number of similarities which stimulates the imagination. So lets follow this line of thought to see the similarities as well as where the difference appears.
The preludeBoth these native peoples had been severely opressed prior to their revolts and both have lost vast parts of their native lands. The Lakota had lost most of the "Great Sioux Reservation" including the Black Hills or Paha Sapa which had a major importance in their spiritual life. In the case of the Sami's the border towards Finland had been closed shortly before the revolt, as a consequence the nomadic Sami's had lost access to several of their most important areas which they used in the wintertime.
In both cases a spiritual and charimatic leader appeared, for the Lakota it was Wovoka from the Paiute tribe and among the Sami's it was Aslak Hætta.
The LeadersBoth these leaders and their followers was also driven by a deep religious faith, yet it is at this point the differences begins to appear. Whereas the Lakota turned to their own native faith and spirituality, the Sami's had over the years been -more or less forcefully- converted to christianity. Yet the faith of the Sami revolters was not based on the christianity supported by the church, but founded on the teachings of an excommunicated halfblood Sami preacher1. This religious movement might deserve an essay of it's own, yet in this context we limit the descripton by mentioning that it had elements which resembled, or was borrowed from, the prechristian Sami spirituality -most notable a religious trance which had similarities in Sami shamanism2.
FaithWhen the Lakota turned to the spirits to reach their goal, the members of the Sami siida3, was inspired by their visions and dreams to make a direct attack on the town of Kautokeino. When the Sami siida members, labeled "holy warriors" by their leader, arrived in Kautokeino on November 8, 1852, they probably intended to attack the tradingpost first since they found the selling of liquor to be especially detestable. Yet the lensman 4 Lars Johan Bucht was already inside the tradingpost. He might have intended to defend the building from the inside, but for unknown5 reasons he came out into the open street where he was killed by the Sami leader Aslak Hætta. The owner of the tradingpost was also immediately attacked and killed by several furious men and women, who also set the tradingpost on fire. The priest mr Hvoslev tried to calm the revolters but was assaulted and severely beaten, the attackers might have left him for dead whereas he only had been beaten unconsious. The attack on the priest was most likely purposeful since the leader Aslak Hætta had condemned the church, government and all authority prior to the attack.
In both cases the government brought the military to stop the revolts, in the case of the Amerinds the military intervention led to a massacre, whereas the end to the Sami revolt was more quiet. 5 of the Sami leaders was captured and sentenced to death, and 10 was sentenced to penal sevitude for life. But only two executions was carried out, a third member was beaten to death during a prison transport prior to his execution and as a consequence the two other executions was postponed until they where granted parole.
A final comparision might be that both peoples was desperate and turned to their religious faiths in the search for a solution to a situation they percieved to be hopeless.