Native Montana tribes celebrate the birth of an ultra-rare white buffalo calf.
The animal, a female born in June at Bitterroot Valley Bison Ranch in Missoula, has been named The Creator’s White Buffalo Maiden.
According to researchers, only about one in a million buffalo is born white, and many lose their snowy color as they grow older.
Members of the tribe believe the White Buffalo Maiden has immense cultural significance, with some claiming it represents the conflicts plaguing our nation.
Others say her arrival means women should take on more leadership roles in tribal affairs.
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A rare white buffalo, named The Creator’s White Buffalo Maiden, was born in June at the Bitterroot Valley Bison Ranch in Missoula, Montana. Only about one in a million buffalo is white, experts say
About 30 people from Montana’s seven major tribes gathered in Lolo on August 29 for a ceremony honoring the arrival of the White Buffalo Maiden.
“I think the reason the Creator sent this calf here is because of all the injustice that has been done,” said Glenn Gopher, who led the ceremony, at the Great Falls Tribune.
“Our country is in dire chaos. We have this virus and we have racial injustice. Our world is corrupt.
But the buffalo, back from the brink of extinction, is also a symbol of hope.
About 30 people, including members of the Seven Tribes of Montana, held a ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the White Buffalo Maiden as a symbol of hope, harmony and women’s empowerment.
“It shows that we need to love and respect each other. Refrain from hate and racism, ”Gopher said. “Love and respect is what is lacking in this country; our lawmakers are out of control.
He said the group prayed “for peace and harmony for all mankind.”
Bitterroot Valley’s 300-acre ranch is home to 90 cows and eight bulls, so Gopher wasn’t sure he could see The Creator’s White Buffalo Maiden.
She ran to the fence just as he walked towards his car, followed by two bulls.
The Creator’s White Buffalo Maiden, aka ‘Faith’, with an adult bison. White buffalo can result from albinism or a genetic disease that gives birth to a white calf but turns brown in a year or two
“It was the prettiest appearance,” Gopher told the Tribune. “I’m sure I’ll never see something like this again in my life.”
Aside from its tribal name, the rare bison has been named Faith by the owners of the ranch.
On Facebook, Blackfeet Nation member Jimmy St Goddard said his people have been waiting for his arrival for 900 years.
‘For 40,000 years the Creator used the buffalo to supply the natives [with] sacred messages and prophecies. ‘
Blair Gopher, a member of the Blackfeet and Ojibwe tribes, said a female calf was a sign that more women should take up positions of authority.
“Our women have been abused and we must pray for better leadership in this country,” she said. “Women will lead and we must respect them.
The National Buffalo Association estimates the birth of a white bison calf at one in 10 million births, while the Montana Historical Society says it is closer to one in five million births.
With the advent of selective buffalo breeding on private ranches, however, it is now closer to one in a million.
“Whiteness is a recessive gene,” wildlife biologist Craig Knowles told the newspaper. “But it’s important to know that some of them don’t retain their whiteness into adulthood.”
Bison coats are almost always brown, and their skin is usually dark brown or black.
A blue-eyed white buffalo named Big Medicine (seen here) was born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana in 1933
After his death in 1959, Big Medicine was stuffed and ridden and remains on display at the Montana Historical Society
The white buffalo may result from albinism, an absence of pigment that remains throughout its life, or it may be due to a genetic condition that gives birth to a white calf but turns brown in a year or two.
They can also be leucists, with white fur but blue eyes.
The white buffalo can be lucrative for breeders, Knowles added, as some will pay generously to raise a white bull and a white cow.
A blue-eyed white buffalo named Big Medicine was born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana in 1933.
Her arrival was also celebrated by local tribes, who saw her as a symbol of their efforts to reclaim the decimated buffalo population.
After his death in 1959, Big Medicine was stuffed and mounted and exhibited at the Montana Historical Society.