Lakota Prophecy Comes to Life with Birth of Rare White Buffalo Calf in Yellowstone

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 12, 2024

Imagine the surprise: a rare white buffalo calf is born in Yellowstone, echoing an ancient Lakota prophecy heralding better times. 

It’s a signal for us all, the Lakota believe, to step up our game in protecting the Earth and its creatures.

A Dual Message from Chief Looking Horse

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, a respected Lakota spiritual leader, sees the birth as both a gift and an urgent alert. 

A black and white close-up photo of a Lakota spiritual leader wearing a ceremonial headdress and looking intently at the camera

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“The birth of this calf is both a blessing and warning. We must do more,” he stresses, pointing out our duty to act now.


A Tough Winter for Yellowstone’s Bison

Last winter was brutal, forcing many of Yellowstone’s bison to lower grounds to survive. 

A herd of bison grazing on a lush green pasture by a river in Yellowstone National Park

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, this resulted in over 1,500 of these majestic animals being killed or relocated, highlighting their ongoing struggle against the elements.

A Snapshot That Stopped Traffic

While visiting Yellowstone, Erin Braaten managed to snap the first photos of the ethereal calf during a traffic jam. 

A close-up image of a white buffalo calf standing beside its dark-furred mother among tall green grass

Source: dancing_aspens_photo/Instagram

Her perfect timing brought this unique story into the spotlight.

Witnessing Magic in the Wild

Erin and her family spent nearly an hour watching the calf and its mother in Yellowstone’s vast landscape. 

A white buffalo calf walking cautiously through a thicket of brush and grass, with its mother's dark silhouette partially visible in the background

Source: dancing_aspens_photo/Instagram

“It was mesmerizing to see them in their natural habitat,” Erin recalls about that tranquil encounter by the Lamar River.

The Spiritual Heft of a White Buffalo

In Lakota culture, a white buffalo calf is as profound as a divine revelation, symbolizing hope and rebirth. 

A white buffalo calf crossing a paved road in a natural setting, followed closely by a large dark bison

Source: simone_venter1/X

Chief Looking Horse explains, “For us, it’s like the second coming of Jesus Christ,” illustrating its deep spiritual significance.


The Tale of the White Buffalo Calf Woman

Lakota legend tells of the White Buffalo Calf Woman who came to aid during a desperate time, leaving behind a sacred pipe and wisdom that ensured the tribe’s survival. 

Sepia-toned historical photo of seven Native American leaders dressed in traditional clothing

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her transformation into a calf foretold her return in times of great need.


Not the First Miracle

This isn’t the first occurrence of such a marvel. 

A painting depicting the White Buffalo Calf Woman holding a sacred pipe, with a white buffalo calf and other bison emerging from misty surroundings

Source: SaCha1689/X

Back in 1994, a calf named Miracle was born in Wisconsin, reigniting interest and connection to this extraordinary symbol across cultures.


A True White Buffalo, Confirmed

Troy Heinert from the InterTribal Buffalo Council affirms this calf exhibits the true markings of a sacred white buffalo.

A small herd of bison grazing in a fenced area under a large tree, with one bison prominently in the foreground

Source: ITBCBuffNation/X

It is distinguished from an albino by its dark eyes and black nose, which are in line with the prophecy.


A Ceremony to Remember

Mark your calendars for June 26, when a naming ceremony for the new calf will take place at the Buffalo Field Campaign headquarters. 

A lone bison standing in the middle of a grassy and rocky terrain in Yellowstone National Park, with rolling hills and a clear blue sky in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The calf’s name is still under wraps, but the celebration is set to be a significant event.


Revered Across Tribes

While the Lakota hold the white buffalo in high esteem, they’re not alone. “Many tribes have their own story of why the white buffalo is so important,” shares Troy Heinert.

A historical sepia-toned group photo featuring Native American leaders and settlers, some standing and some seated, with a teepee in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He points out a universal reverence among Native American communities.


Hope for the Future

The birth of this white buffalo calf is a reminder of our collective responsibility to protect our world.

A headshot of Troy Heinert wearing a black cowboy hat and a blue collared shirt

Source: SenatorHeinert/X

“I hope that calf is safe and gonna live its best life in Yellowstone National Park, exactly where it was designed to be,” says Heinert, hopeful for the future this calf could inspire.