rare white bison calf with mother
White bison are exceptionally rare in the wild, and considered a good omen in many Native American cultures.

A white bison photographed in Yellowstone National Park is being called a sacred omen by some Native American tribes, including the Lakota people.

First photographed earlier this month, the incredibly rare white bison fulfills an ancient Lakota legend prophesying good times to come. Given its significance to indigenous spiritual beliefs, some have called the event equivalent to the resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians.

A Very Rare Sight

The white bison was spotted in the Lamar Valley area, a picturesque part of northeastern Yellowstone popular with animal lovers hoping to catch a glimpse of the elk, bison, wolves, and bald eagles that inhabit the park.

But on June 4th, photographer Erin Braaten captured an image she thought she’d never see: a white bison. Stuck in slow-moving traffic, she spotted the baby white bison some 330 feet away. Braaten first thought the baby bison was a coyote – but quickly realized she was witness to a miracle.

"There were so many different thoughts and emotions," she explained. "It was so amazing. I thought I'd have a better chance of capturing Bigfoot than a white bison calf."

Though white bison have been born in captivity, they often contain cow DNA. It is believed the calf Braaten photographed is the only white bison born in the wild in decades – the last white bison seen in the wild is believed to have been in 1994, and before that, 1933.

“I was just totally, totally floored,” said Braaten. Thanks to bad traffic, she’d stumbled upon a miracle for many Native American tribes.

The Story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman

Cherokee, Dakota, Sioux, Lakota, and Navajo all consider the birth of a white bison a miraculous event, and the story of a white bison woman – often called the white buffalo calf woman – figures into the theology of many Native tribes.

Lakota legend tells of a woman who appeared thousands of years ago, at a time of famine. Two hunters spotted a white bison, which turned into a woman as they got closer. One of the hunters approached with intent to harm, but was smote. The other kneeled respectfully, and was told to return to his home and prepare for her arrival.

When she arrived, she brought with her the gifts of a prayer pipe and a fan of sage leaves. Then she rolled around on the ground four times, changing from white to black, then red, and finally yellow. She taught the tribes special prayers, and promised upon her return to bring spiritual harmony to the world.

Upon her departure, bison resumed roaming the land, and her return – as a white bison – is often compared to the return of Jesus Christ in Christian theology.

For many Native scholars, the birth of the white bison is both an exciting omen but also a sign "that we need to live in a good way and treat others with respect," says Troy Heinert, executive director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council.

“A blessing and a warning," agreed Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th keeper of the original pipe gifted by the white buffalo woman.

"I'm so overwhelmed. It's a miracle," he said. "It makes my hairs stand up just to even talk about it, because I can't believe this is happening, the spirit of the white buffalo calf woman sending a message to us."

47 comments

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    What a beautiful thing to see. If indigenous people choose to view it as an omen, then let them. Wonders are all around us if we are willing to look.

    1. Joy's Avatar Joy

      Exactly! One doesn't have to critize another just because they don't understand it. I think the message above is clear and I'm taking it to my own heart to remind me to just be kind:

      For many Native scholars, the birth of the white bison is both an exciting omen but also a sign "that we need to live in a good way and treat others with respect," says Troy Heinert, executive director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council.

  1. Mountainsage's Avatar Mountainsage

    A hopeful sign for humanity. If just by thinking about white buffalo woman hopefully we can bring peace to the world and respect and love for all peoples.

    1. Joy's Avatar Joy

      I love this. Yes. Agree!!

  1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

    "...some have called the event equivalent to the resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians." "...often compared to the return of Jesus Christ in Christian theology."

    Who said these thing? The 'author' just throws it out without quoting anyone. And why does it have to be compared to jc? Why can't it be accepted for what it is, part of another culture's religious belief and let it stand on its own. Does comparing it to jebus somehow validate the event or belief? Not to mention that this has happened a number of times in the past 60 years (despite what's written above).

    In 2023 in a state park in Wyoming they had a white calf, born to a white heifer (one of two white buffalo heifers given to the park in 2022.) In oklahoma a white buffalo bull sired three calves, all white. So while not really all that rare, it beats the hell out of any comparison to jc who is supposed to come only once (no giggling please).

    These blogs are getting worse and worse. No links, no sources (no, twitter isn't a source). I would include links to my sources but I'm pretty sure they're not allowed so anyone who wants to can just google it, you'll find the same information I found.

    1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      Its called a Standard Jj. When you've got to measure something you measure it against a standard. In this case we're measuring miracles. Naturally we'd want to measure this miraculous white Buffalo against the miraculous resurrection of our Lord, Jesus The Christ. Once we do that, we can see, yep, it's just at a white buffalo. No big deal.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

        And when you measure the virgin birth of Jesus against the previous ancient religions that claimed virgin births you find that the xtian version is just as non-miraculous, just as silly, as all the others.

    2. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

      Why don't you write an article about something, Father JJ

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    I'm unconvinced that the birth of a white bison calf has such supernatural or miraculous merit. But it is very interesting to see one.

    1. Keith Graham Ainsworth's Avatar Keith Graham Ainsworth

      The story has as much credibility as the one where a man gets nailed to a cross, dies, then resurrected

      1. Julie Rottinghaus's Avatar Julie Rottinghaus

        I see all these people arguing. Please, just take joy in this amazing miracle. To argue about it completely defeats the feel of the event. Part of it's purpose is note we need less if this kind of thing, and more love, joy, and healing. ✌️❤️🌎

  1. Najah P Tamargo's Avatar Najah P Tamargo

    Najah Tamargo - USA Having been adopted my a Lakota family, I am very familiar with the White Buffalo Woman creation story. Aho, and many blessings!!

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Then you should also know that this has happened at least 10 times before.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

        And the story of a ‘savior’ being born to a virgin is common to other religions (stupid ideas people believe) prior to your cult’s usage of the stupidity.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          ok lets see you prove it didnt happen.

  1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

    Everyone to their own religion.

    My study of Native American beliefs seem to indicate that, since they don't worship any "god" (the Great Spirit is not God in the Christian or Muslim meaning), and neither Cherokee, Dakota, Sioux, Lakota, or Navajo peoples appear to believe in "miracles", the original blog statement above is probably misleading. Especially for members of churches which do believe in miracles.

    Many people have trouble believing about 99.9% of "saints" have actually performed 2 verified miracles which would be verified by anyone other than Vatican priests.

    Virgin birth is also difficult for many people to believe although Southern Baptists may soon make that moot since they seem to object to any "unnatural" kind of procreation.

    They do seem to have some real problems.

    I believe the SBC only believe in birth control for married people which must have caused some problems for their clergy If you read between the lines of the May 22, 2022, 209-page report by Guidepost Solutions an independent group hired by SBC which found decades of abuse ignored by the upper management.

    Neither the SBC nor Catholicism are my religions though so I personally wouldn't comment on whether their beliefs have any miraculous merit.

    Some of my ancestors would feel the white bison is, if not a miracle, is at least the fulfillment of a traditional spiritual story involving a woman/bison.

    Many of the Native spiritual beliefs are intended to show the importance of caring for the earth, nature, and other humans.

    I find their stories at least as meaningful as most religions.

    If any SBC members are here I would very much appreciate a more accurate description of the church's position on birth control or non-traditional procreation.

    The same, of course, for any spiritual leaders of the Cherokee, Dakota, Sioux, Lakota, or Navajo tribes If I misinterpreted by reading of their beliefs at sacred-texts.

    But, essentially, I feel commenting in any negative way about someone else's beliefs which aren't obviously anti-scientific such as vaccine hesitancy, is probably none of my business.

    As always, I readily admit that I may be wrong which seems to set me apart from a great many other ministers. (Not referring to Minister Kester who I do not know and therefore wouldn't comment on, this is just the place to comment on the white bison.)

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Wrong. My father is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Cherokee Nation and both he and I and my brothers and sisters are listed on record at the BIA in Washington DC. Now as for the Cherokee not having a religion...wrong yet again. The Cherokee revere the Great Spirit Unetlanvhi (ᎤᏁᏝᏅᎯ "Creator"), who presides over all things and created the Earth and would be the same to the Cherokee as Allah is to Islam and God/Jesus is to Christians. The Unetlanvhi is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and is said to have made the earth to provide for its children. They also revere a being they call Mother Earth who is the opposite side of the Great Spirit

      1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

        Daniel, I certainly wouldn't disagree with your statements but I reread my post several times and I don't see where I claimed that the Cherokee people don't have a religion. I wouldn't say that and if I did someplace it was a mistake. I am losing my eyesight and may have missed something in my post. I also didn't mean to suggest they don't revere the Great Spirit or Mother Earth, just that I wasn't aware that they "worshiped" either one. To me revering some being or thing isn't the same as worshiping. Christians, to the best of my knowledge don't "revere" Christ, they worship him. Other religions revere him as a prophet. But, as always, I can be wrong and if I implied something I don't believe then I apologize for the misunderstanding.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          so you want to try and refute your own 1st paragraph? or are you going to try and claim you didnt post this/

          "My study of Native American beliefs seem to indicate that, since they don't worship any "god" (the Great Spirit is not God in the Christian or Muslim meaning), and neither Cherokee, Dakota, Sioux, Lakota, or Navajo peoples appear to believe in "miracles", the original blog statement above is probably misleading. Especially for members of churches which do believe in miracles."

    2. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      John,

      I believe the southern Baptists are opposed to artificial insemination because several viable embryos are destroyed in the process. This is akin to abortion in their mind.
      From my angle the two are not in alignment. One seeks to avoid having children while the other dreams of having children.

  1. Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski

    Interesting article for the native american tribes to have born a buffalo savior to bring good lock & good fortune & good hope of a better future in the lakotas is truly an amazing gift of God. Praise the Lord, Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift 2 corinthians 9:15 May our hearts rejoice.

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    What a beautiful animal, and, indeed, a sacred one. But, sadly, there are many religious zealots among the monotheistic beliefs who may start gunning for the calf, and I do mean that in a literal sense. More than once white buffalo calves have been born to the herds. And, each time, a poacher has shot it. Usually male, and usually an individual who's a devout follower of one church or another.

    Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying "men are evil" for whomever sees this and starts jumping on me about what I've stated. I'm stating what has been happening when such a calf is born. Not "bashing on the gender". Nothing more.

    1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      I don't know a female poacher beyond morel mushroom hunter chicks that harvest in wildlife preserves. I had a park ranger warn me about hunting morels in the park. Seen the sister two hours later doing the same.

      You're right though, if the chance were given, an unprincipled brother wouldn't think twice about a white buffalo trophy. Poaching shrooms is one thing, poaching animals is a thing Christians ought not do.

    2. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      I saw a sad story Bridget, this buffalo has gone missing. You may have called it.

      1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

        Unfortunately, I know the religious zealots and die-hard trophy hunters way too well in the USA. And their pattern of behaviors have become almost predictable. :'(

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Of course it's a miracle how else can you explain a sighting that hasn't been recorded since 1994 . Leave the native Indian community alone.If that's what they believe in who are we to say or believe in.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      wrong. a white buffalo calf named Miracle was born in 1994 on a farm in Janesville, Wisconsin. She is believed to be the first since 1933. Another was born in Avon, Minnesota, in 2012 but died two weeks later. and here is proof of even more white buffalos being born https://www.dailytrib.com/2024/04/23/rare-white-bison-calf-born-in-burnet/ and if you look at the date then you will see the calf was born THIS year and then one was born in Texas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcgdtQVBh9g and according to the National Bison Association, is that a white buffalo calf will occur in one out of every 10 million births and considering that you have the only PURE bloodline of Buffalo left in the world and they are in canada,,just how can you call these animals buffalos?

      1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

        I had read a while back that there is at least some domestic cattle DNA admixture in most US Bison. It's how they bred up the remnant herds to current population numbers.

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    I am of Sicilian descent who believes in signs. The white buffalo calf that was born in Janesville, Wisconsin in 1994 was named 'Miracle.' I will be eager to learn what the name of this newborn will be and hope that its birth has a positive effect on all of us.

  1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

    What a bunch of virtue signaling

    1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

      What's "a bunch of virtue signaling?" Because people are excited about the fact a white buffalo calf has been born?

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        In this case, virtue signaling probably refer those who write vacuous praise solely for the purpose of appearing to be an ally with the first peoples nations and an opponent of bad colonialists.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Is this any different from the red heifer story n the Bible? Could this Native American belief be another story stolen and retold in the Bible like so many others?

    1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Douglas, how would the ancient Hebrews have known about a North American story about a white buffalo woman story? It sounds like just another unnecessary dig a the Bible.

    2. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      Douglas,

      We know God moves in all nations and all peoples. Just because he chose a people to carry his word doesn't mean God doesn't give sign s to others.

      As far as the red heffer goes, that was written and practiced before the Europeans found the Americas.

      Making cheap copies of Gods work is in Satan's list of credentials. To your point, it's more likely that Satan gave the native Americans a cheap copy of the real deal, that is if the concept was stolen at all.

      1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

        so the native american's beliefs are "cheap copies"? seriously? you have decided that all on your own? I really thought judging and judgement was up to your cloud clown and yet you consistently make judgement on other people, religions, etc. maybe stop the self-righteous condemnations, pray for forgiveness from your make-believe spook king and just stop. judging. other. people. sheesh

        1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

          JJ,

          No, I didn't say that, you did. I said if there's an accusations or suspicion of theft involving the Bible and some other belief, I'll say the Bible is the original.

          I'm not allowed to believe the Bible is a true document and then s a message from our creator to each of us personally?

          We're on a religious blog. This is the proper forum for discussions like this. I'm not out on the street with a megaphone railing against marylin manson. I'm doing the religious blog thing.

      2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        Which god is it that you like to believe in? Is it that biblical one that likes killing children that some people like to say is all loving?

        🦁❤️

        1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

          Lionheart, you're one of the few if not the only I've seen that points out the so called "all loving God" is the same who culled nearly the entire population of humans. Believe it or not I'm glad there's someone out there that voices that reality. Most Christians ignore that fact and rather turn to the fuzzy slipper wearing, bear hugging, happy go lucky frat house hippie dude wearing heart shaped pink sunglasses. Most Christian and Christian opponents yell Love Love Love at us, ignoring what you so often and eloquently point out. Kinda like the gays for Palestine movement. They seem to ignore the nasty habit of culling homosexuals that Muslim theocracies have.

          If we have a creator and he is of the father type, he will be fatherly in all things love, discipline, reward and punishment.

          I gotta appreciate atheists when they speak what's on their mind. Truly.

          For the record, the biblical god that likes killing children is Moloch. He changed out that old spooky altar for a new fancy one with a nice pillow and stirrups.

          1. Rev Big Al's Avatar Rev Big Al

            Comment has been removed.

  1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

    Interesting! I wonder if anyone has followed up on the sighting. It would be fun to be updated on the calf every so often, and get information about it like whether it's a bull or cow. I bet running around in the wild it won't look very white...I had a white dog that used to go roll in red clay every time I bathed her.

  1. Kay Talley's Avatar Kay Talley

    Whatever the belief and whatever the omen, so long as it brings a positive energy with it and comfort to the believer with no strings attached, it’s a good thing. Thankful that we have bison aplenty again and wish this one a long and happy life spreading good vibes!

  1. Julie Armstrong's Avatar Julie Armstrong

    It is truly an Omen! What a blessing. Creator has given us a Blessing with a warning. We must be kind to each other and Mother Nature. .Stop the greed. Life is suppose to be simple and balanced with nature. Not full of unnatural foods, living, and creations.

  1. Walter J. Holbrook's Avatar Walter J. Holbrook

    I find this a very interesting story of faith. A Miracle.

  1. Thomas Edwin Peterson's Avatar Thomas Edwin Peterson

    Am very glad to see a white bison born . Many will disparage the occasion. I however hope and pray it's indeed a sign of new beginnings which we of all Faith's need these days. Blessings to all.

  1. Lisa Marie Carter's Avatar Lisa Marie Carter

    Freedom of Religion or Religious beliefs should be respected .

  1. John Casillo's Avatar John Casillo

    BEAUTIFUL PICTURE.....HOPE IT IS NAMED MIRACLE ;)

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    And you do know that "white Buffalo's" dont stay white. In Nature if you are born a different color then your parents its a sure sign that you will be on someones or somethings dinner table very soon as its like putting a target right on the animals back as it causes it to stand out. The only ones who stay white or light grey are the ones in captivity.

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