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 “.
A true white buffalo happens only once every ten million births, according to the National Bison Association, but many white buffalo in North America result from breading a buffalo with cattle (sometimes referred to as bison hybrid, beefalo or cattalo). Breeding the buffalo with cattle has been a serious setback to wild American bison conservation. Most current bison herds are genetically polluted or partly crossbred with cattle leaving only four genetically unmixed American bison herds left. One of these herds is kept at the Fort Worth Nature Center near Fort Worth, Texas. The crossbred herd vary in type and color, depending on the breed of cattle used [e.g. Herefords and Charolais (beef cattle), Holsteins (dairy) or Brahman (humped cattle)]. Buffalo bred with Charolais cattle produce a much lighter colored calf sometimes almost white.
May 12, 2011, Arby Little Soldier, owner of the Lakota Buffalo Ranch in east Texas discovered that one of his buffalo cows (dams) had given birth to a genuine white buffalo calf. A few months later during a celebration drawing over 2,000 admirers, the calf was named Lightning Medicine Cloud. The white calf represented the return of White Buffalo Woman and her promise to bring hope and help to the people. Arby Little Soldier announced, “The spiritual message behind this buffalo today is the hope of all nations to come together …”
When a white buffalo was born before 1830, it was born in the wild, a gift from White Buffalo Woman as a sacred reminder of her promise to return to help the people. The calf was sacred and a gift to all of the people. Today, the closest thing to a wild buffalo is found in National Parks like Yellowstone. When a white buffalo calf is born in captivity it can bring great notoriety to the owner but can also bring great tragedy. Take the case of “Lightning Medicine Cloud” born on the Lakota Ranch near Dallas, Texas owned by Arby Little Soldier.
The White Buffalo has been the most sacred living thing to the Plains Indians for over 2,000 years. It symbolizes the promised return of White Buffalo Woman (see White Buffalo, Part 1: The Legend). The white buffalo calf brings the promise of great blessings to those who respect and adopt the ways taught by White Buffalo Woman. But, the calf can also bring a curse to those who ignore the signs and make the wrong choices.