Monday, August 29, 2011


White buffalo with his mom
Last spring, on May 12, 2011 a rare non-albino white male buffalo was born in Hunt County, Texas at the Lakota Buffalo Ranch. In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the birth made the news. Recently I saw an article on this buffalo calf with lovely photos of the naming ceremony held in June.  

Snyder, Texas statue
by Billy Hathorn

The article reminded me that years ago I had seen the statue of a white buffalo in Snyder, Texas commemorating one that was shot in 1876 by a hunter. The statue in Snyder is of a female buffalo and the skin (though over 100 years old) is preserved on a nearby ranch.

Curiosity aroused and the fact I love research, I investigated. If you read my blog frequently, you know I absolutely love western history. Turns out this myth is the same on several sites, is very long in its entirety, yet carries a nice message.

Here’s a condensed version, courtesy of Jim and Dena Riley’s, Spirit Mountain Ranch website:

The legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman tells how the People had lost the ability to communicate with the Creator. The Creator sent the sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman to teach the People how to pray with the Pipe. With that Pipe, seven sacred ceremonies were given for the people to abide in order to ensure a future with harmony, peace, and balance.

Painting by Rogue Guirey Simpson,
Isn't it beautiful?
Legend says that long ago, two young men were out hunting when from out of nowhere came a beautiful maiden dressed in white buckskin. One of the hunters looked upon her and recognizing her as a wakan, or sacred being, lowered his eyes. The second hunter approached her with lust in his eyes desiring her for his woman. White Buffalo Calf Woman beckoned the lustful warrior to her, and as he approached a cloud of dust arose around them causing them to be hidden from view. When the dust settled, nothing but a pile of bones lay next to her. As she walked toward the respectful young hunter, she explained to him that she had merely fulfilled the other man's desire, allowing him, within that brief moment, to live a lifetime, die and decay.

White Buffalo Calf Woman instructed the young man to go back to the People and tell them to prepare for her arrival to teach them of the way to pray. The young hunter obeyed. When White Buffalo Calf woman arrived with the sacred bundle (the prayer pipe) she taught the People of the seven sacred ways to pray. These prayers are through ceremonies that include the Sweat Lodge for purification; the Naming Ceremony for child naming; the Healing Ceremony to restore health to the body, mind and spirit; the adoption ceremony for making of relatives; the marriage ceremony for uniting male and female; the Vision Quest for communing with the Creator for direction and answers to one's life; and the Sundance Ceremony to pray for the well-being of all the People.

When the teaching of the sacred ways was complete, White Buffalo Calf Woman told the people she would again return for the sacred bundle that she left with them. Before leaving, she told them that within her were the four ages, and that she would look back upon the People in each age, returning at the end of the fourth age, to restore harmony and spirituality to a troubled land. She walked a short distance, she looked back towards the people and sat down. When she arose they were amazed to see she had become a black buffalo. Walking a little further, the buffalo laid down, this time arising as a yellow buffalo. The third time the buffalo walked a little further and this time arose as a red buffalo. Walking a little further it rolled on the ground and rose one last time as a white buffalo calf signaling the fulfillment of the White Buffalo Calf prophecy.

The changing of the four colors of the White Buffalo Calf Woman represents the four colors of man--white, yellow, red and black. These colors also represent the four directions, north, east, south and west. The sacred bundle that was left to the Lakota people is still with the People in a sacred place on the Cheyenne River Indian reservation in South Dakota. It is kept by a man known as the Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe, Arvol Looking Horse.

Lightning Medicine Cloud
lookimg very pleased
The calf born in Texas in May lives on a ranch owned by Arby Little Soldier, the great-great-great grandson of Chief Sitting Bull. In part due to stormy weather and lightning during his birth, the calf was named Lightning Medicine Cloud. The birth of a white buffalo is allegedly a one-in-ten-million occurrence. During the naming ceremony attended by over a thousand people, Samuel Joseph Lone Wolf said the calf was a symbol calling for the unity of all people, a message that is meant to urge man to live with the understanding that all living beings are linked and interdependent.

According to Lone Wolf, this is the buffalo’s message to all people, not only Native Americans: “We, as human beings, need to quit bickering at each other. We need to forget that we’re all different colored skins, different colored hair, ‘cause when they cut us down, we’re all the same. We need to come together as one nation. Not a black nation. Not a red nation. Not a white nation. Not a yellow nation. We need to come together as it is meant to be--one nation. Think about that, carry it in your heart and work at it.”

Isn't that a nice message? It's one with which I heartily agree. Do you find myths and legends interesting? Would you like to share one here?

For those who live in the area, Lakota Buffalo Ranch will have a Pipe Ceremony at 4:00 pm on October 15, 2011 at the ranch near Greenville, Hunt County, Texas.

Thanks to everyone who read and/or commented on my 5 Heart review from The Romance Studio for my sweet contemporary romance, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME.  Elisabeth won the PDF download of the book. Congratulations, Elizabeth, and thanks for commenting. I'll send your download right away.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

If you are interested in attending the ceremony in October, I am sure there will be a notice in the Herald Banner on the particulars. The ceremony is free, parking is $5. However, there is a tradition of leaving a gift that can go toward the care of the buffalo -- money, hay, food. The ranch is on a narrow two lane highway, so be prepared for congestion and lots of traffic.
I have not seen the calf, as it is kept under guard in a back pasture. The message is nice, though.