In a rare and momentous event, Native American tribes in Montana have come together to celebrate the birth of a sacred female white bison calf, a creature of tremendous cultural significance. The calf, born in June at the Bitterroot Valley Bison Ranch in Missoula, has been named The Creator’s White Buffalo Maiden, as only one in a million buffalo calves are born white, with many losing their white pigment as they grow up.
Some see the White Buffalo Maiden as a symbol of the country’s conflicts, while others believe that her arrival is a call for greater female leadership in tribal matters. On August 29, around 30 members of Montana’s seven major tribes held a ceremony in Lolo to honor her arrival.
Glenn Gopher, the ceremony’s master of ceremonies, believes that “the Creator sent this calf here because of all the evil that’s been done.” He sees her as a demonstration of the need to value and cherish each other, as the country is in dire need of love and respect. The gathering prayed for peace and harmony for all of mankind.
According to Gopher, the event was a breathtaking sight, unlike anything he has ever seen before. The ranch’s owners have given the bison the name Faith, in addition to her tribal name, The Creator’s White Buffalo Maiden.
Jimmy St. Goddard, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, posted on Facebook that his people have been anticipating the arrival of this uncommon bison for 900 years. For 40,000 years, the Creator has used the buffalo to communicate spiritual teachings and prophecies to the native people, he added.
For Blair Gopher, a tribal member of both the Blackfeet and Ojibwe tribes, the birth of a female calf is a sign that more women should take on leadership roles. According to the National Buffalo Association, only one in every 10 million births are white bison calves, while the Montana Historical Society claims that the likelihood is closer to one in every 5 million. However, with private ranches now selectively breeding buffalo, the probability has increased to approximately one in a million.