The White Buffalo
To Native Americans, the Bison or American Buffalo was a symbol of sacred life and abundance.
Their importance and symbolism were created from legend:
One summer a long time ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped. The sun was intense, and the people were starving, for there was no game. Two young men went out to hunt in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Along the way, a beautiful young woman dressed in white appeared to the warriors and said, "Return to your people and tell them I am coming." This holy woman presented the Lakota people with the sacred pipe, which showed connected things. She taught the Lakota people the mysteries of the earth. She taught them to pray and follow the proper path while on earth. As the woman left the tribe, she rolled upon the earth four times, changing color and finally turning into a white buffalo calf. Then she disappeared. Almost at the same time as her leaving, great herds of buffalo could be seen surrounding the camps. It is said that after that day, the Lakota honored their pipe, and buffalo were plentiful.
The White Buffalo Calf Woman story has immense importance to the Lakota and many other tribes. As John Lame Deer, a spiritual leader, says, "A white buffalo is the most sacred living thing you could ever encounter." Like some white buffalo do as they age, the changing colors have significance, too, which must be interpreted by a holy man.
Oglala Sioux spiritual leader Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand, a grandson of Red Cloud, is quoted as saying, "The arrival of the white buffalo is like the second coming of Christ. It will bring about purity of mind, body, and spirit and unify all nations—black, red, yellow, and white."
A white buffalo calf is extremely rare and happens only 1 in 10 million births from the mating of two brown bison.
Many believe that the buffalo calf, Miracle, born August 20, 1994, symbolizes the coming together of humanity into a oneness of heart, mind, and spirit.