In previous articles, I have mentioned that a true white buffalo happens only once every ten million births, according to the National Bison Association. But, today, white buffalo are not nearly so rare. According to Aaron Bulkley, owner of Texas Hunt Lodge, “There are multiple breeding ranches all over the U.S. that breed white buffalo. If you breed a white buffalo to a white buffalo you will have a white buffalo.” He estimates there are over fifty white buffalo throughout the country. Not all of the white buffalo are “true”, some are the product of breeding with cattle. However, regardless of breeding, white buffalo are still sacred to many Native Americans as was demonstrated recently when the Texas Hunt Lodge advertised a “White Buffalo hunt package “.
[from Indian Country Today Media Network 3-5-12] “American Indians across the internet are flocking to the website of Texas Hunt Lodge today—and not because they’re planning a hunting trip. No, they’re alarmed by a page on the site dedicated to the White Buffalo Hunt Package, which advertises a chance to kill a white buffalo for $13,500. “
In response to the Indian Country article, Bulkley replied, “We’ve had a ton of feedback from people since the white buffalo story came out, and I understand the white buffalo is sacred to Indians. It’s been on the website for three years and all of a sudden people are excited about it. I do understand their point. I’m not saying I disagree with it or agree with it but I am going to take if off the website.”
In a follow-up article two days later, ICTMN reported, “Cynthia Hart-Button was even more emotional about hunting white buffalo. She is President of Sacred World Peace Alliance with Lakota ancestry. She and her husband also have 14 white buffalo on their Oregon property, three born this past year. “I am repulsed!” was her response. “I am beyond … just completely beyond! I am so adrenalized right now because of these buffalo.” She and her husband work with various tribes and provide hair that has been shed by their buffalo to Pendleton Mills for blankets, but not before they do prayer circles and prayers on the hair.
The white buffalo has become quite successful commercially. Quoting from Margaret Coel’s recent novel, “Night of the White Buffalo“, “Visitors can be expected to bring donations to the calf, considered personal mementos, or even sacrifices. They will also donate money to help defray the costs of maintaining the calf. It is not unusual for donations to exceed a million dollars in a year.”
Here is a list of herds where white buffalo reside:
- * White Bison Association, Bend, Oregon, (15 white buffalo as of 2012)
- * National Buffalo Museum, North Dakota (1 albino, 1 white calf)
- * Texas Hunt Lodge, Hunt, Texas (?)
- * Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, Tupelo, Mississippi
- * Blatz Bison Ranch, Fort St. John, British Columbia
- * Buffalo Crossing, Shelby, Kentucky
- * Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- * Heider Farm, Janesville, Wisconsin
- * Woodland Zoo, Farmington, Pennsylvania
The legacy of the white buffalo, or Amercan Bison, lives on. With herds growing to around 500,000, and with successful breeding programs, we can expect to see many more white buffalo in the future. Many in the Native American community would like to see the white buffalo declared an endangered species. But, as I have discovered through research for these articles, defining what a true white buffalo is, and which white buffalo should be included on the endangered list could be very difficult.