The birth of white bison is extremely rare. To some First Nation tribes it is a sacred event. That’s why the birth of any white bison calf is worth celebrating.
Recently, the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Manitoba, Canada welcomed an incredibly rare baby white bison. The white buffalo has played an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of native 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 [the white buffalo] signals the start of our culture and our beliefs and our ceremonies,” he added. “It’s really important to us.”
The birth of the white male bison has also grasped the attention of people from as far as the United States. They came to see the baby bison and left tobacco offerings wrapped in colorful 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 presented to the community’s herd.
The calf and its mother become distinctive when staying in the pasture with their herd of about two dozen bison. Their appearance easily attracts the attention of people who came here for them.
Tacan said that the community had requests to bring the buffalo out and put it on display at fairs and other events. But valley chief refused. He just wanted to keep the white bison calf in the pasture where it belongs to.
“I don’t think we’d want to display her [the mother] in that sort of way,” said Tacan. “It’s a sacred animal.… If you want to see it you’d have to come out here.
“We’re trying to work in a respectful way.”