The Ghost Dance created by the Paiute Profit, Wovoka, was intended to strengthen the tribe's spirituality and health by respecting and communicating with passed on ancestors.
(Years later Sitting Bull used the Ghost Dance to foster rebellion on the reservation.)
Wovoka was a widely respected philosopher and sage, who among other things successfully predicted a solar eclipse. People from many different tribes would travel far to hear him speak. He preached that if the tribes danced and prayed and heightened their spirituality, one day the buffalo would return and food and shelter would again be abundant. The sign that this was imminent would be a buffalo in the clouds.
Dreamrider I symbolizes a warrior's departure on a spiritual quest towards fulfillment of the dream of the buffalo's return, and the health of the tribes. The rider's son, and wife holding aloft a Pahoe, or prayer stick, watch him go and send prayers for his success.