The birth of white bison is extremely rare. For some First Nation tribes, it was a sacred event. That’s why the birth of any white bison is worth celebrating.
Recently, the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Manitoba, Canada, welcomed a very rare white bison. The white buffalo has played an essential role in the spiritual and cultural life of the indigenous tribes here.
“The significance of the white buffalo is that … all of our teachings and our culture and our ceremonies were given through the white buffalo calf woman,” said Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan.”
“That [white buffalo] heralds the beginning of our culture, beliefs and rituals,” he added. “It’s really important to us.”
The birth of the white bison has also attracted people’s attention from all over the United States. They came to see the baby bison and left tobacco offerings wrapped in colourful ribbons along its fence.
The calf’s mother is also a white bison. It was born at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo in 2009 and was presented to the community’s herd.
The calf and its mother became different when they were in the meadow with a herd of about two dozen bison. Their appearance easily attracts the attention of those who come here for them.
Tacan said the community has asked to take the buffalo out and display it at fairs and other events. But the chief of the valley refused. He just wanted to keep the white bison in the pasture where it belonged to.
“I don’t think we wanted to show her [mother] that way,” Tacan said. “It is a sacred animal.… If you want to see it, you have to come out here.
“We’re trying to work in a respectful way.”