The Meaning of the Sacred White Buffalo

When a white buffalo calf, a male calf named Lightning Medicine Cloud, and its mother were slaughtered this week at Native-owned Lakota Ranch in Texas, Indian Country was outraged. This is because white buffalo are not only rare (according to the National Bison Association, just one out of every 10 million buffalo born are white), but they are considered sacred amongst many Native tribes.

According to information on Lakota Ranch’s web site, the reason for this harkens back to many years ago, when the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped during the summer. The people were starving because there was no game. Two young men went out to look for food for their people in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Along the way, a beautiful young woman dressed in white appeared to them, saying, “Return to your people and tell them I am coming.” When she presented herself to the Lakota people with the sacred pipe which showed how all things were connected, she taught them the mysteries of the earth. She taught them to pray and follow the proper path while on earth.

Then, before leaving, she rolled upon the earth four times, changing color each time, turning into a white buffalo calf before she disappeared. As she left, great herds of buffalo surrounded the camps. After that day the Lakota honored their pipe and buffalo were plentiful.

The Lakota and other tribes believed that a white buffalo is the most sacred living thing on earth. In addition, many buffalo change colors as they age, and those colors must be interpreted by a holy man.

The American buffalo or bison is a symbol of abundance and manifestation, and the lesson learned by the Lakota that day is that one does not have to struggle to survive if the right action is joined by the right prayer. The birth of a sacred white buffalo is a sign of hope and an indication of good times to come. For many American Indians, the birth of a white buffalo calf is the most significant of prophetic signs, equivalent to many Christian signs such as weeping statues.

Tell us: Do you feel the deliberate killing of an animal thought to be sacred by Natives is a hate crime?


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  1. William Gregson Oct 01, 2016 - 10:23 AM

    Yes, and they should be held acountable for there actions.

  2. A. Whinery Oct 07, 2016 - 02:54 PM

    There is precedence for the slaughter of White Buffalo by man, though only during time of ritual. The Cheyenne people slew one the night the stars fell (during the Leonid Meteor Shower) and penned a treaty on its hide.

    Provisions should also be made for Beefalo and other bison-cattle hybrids, those strange animal made by mixing the two species, and whose coat coloring is more likely to be determined through the introduction of cattle genes.

    Senseless slaughter of the animal does no good to anyone, that much is true. And I’m all for the protection, preservation, and cultivation of white buffalo. That being said, if one looks over the historic record, white buffalo calves tend to be sicklier in infancy, and for some strange reason more likely to die in thunderstorms (I have no idea why, but when I looked up examples of white buffalo, many of them die within a month of being born, or in their first year of life, died in a lightning storm).

    Additionally: It has been some time, and after a necropsy it was proven that Little Medicine Cloud and its mother died of a bacterial infection known a Blackleg, which is a gram positive, acute, fast disseminating, and fast acting bacterial infection which causes necrosis in a manner that makes it almost appear as though the body has been butchered due to the amount of blood present and muscle tissue missing.