If you thought regular bisonwere impressive, wait until you see this beast.
TikTok user jesus_86 posted a now viral video of a white bison rumbling down a snowy pathway and it’s truly an incredible sight. The original video has garnered nearly 2.5 million views with who knows how many more from reposts.
Bison almost always have brown fur and black skin, but approximately one out of every 10 million are born with white fur. While there can be a few causes for this, the most common reason is albinism or leucism.
While they remain a huge draw and create excitement every time one is seen today, white buffalo have long been a sacred sign for many Native American religions, including that of the Lakota, who believe those who appear today are the return of White Buffalo Calf Woman, which symbolizes both a blessing and a warning.
The Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman
Legend has it that an intense famine struck the Lakota tribe many years ago and two men went on a journey to try and find food to feed the struggling people. While on their hunting trip, they spotted someone walking towards them from a distance away. Naturally, they were scared of enemies, so they hid in a bush and watched the figure approach them, and when it got close, they realized that it was not only a woman carrying a bundle of sagebrush, but she was the most beautiful woman they had ever laid eyes upon.
One of the men was immediately filled with lust and said to the other “She is more beautiful than anyone I have ever seen. I want her for my wife.” His friend rebuked him, saying “How dare you have such a thought? She is wondrously beautiful and holy, far above ordinary people.”
Although they were hidden, it was clear that she was able to both see and hear them, and spoke to the first man while still some distance away, saying “Come. What is it you wish?”
Filled with longing, the man stood up, walked over to the woman, and tried to place his hands on her as if to claim her as his own. Immediately, a whirlwind came from up above and a mist engulphed the woman and the man. When it cleared, the second man was still able to see the woman, but his friend had been reduced to a pile of bones at her feet.
As the second man stood in awe, the woman spoke to him, saying “I am on a journey to your people. Among them is a good man whose name is Bull Walking Upright. I am coming to see him especially. Go on ahead of me and tell your people I am on my way. Ask them to move camp and to pitch their tents in a circle. Ask them to leave an opening in the circle, facing the north. In the center of the circle, make a large tipi, also facing the north. There I will meet Bull Walking Upright and his people.”
The man immediately left and told his people what had happened. They ensured all of her directions were followed and eventually the woman appeared at the camp, where she presented a pipe made of red stone with a small outline of a buffalo calf engraved on it. She gave this pipe to Bull Walking Upright and taught him the prayers he should pray to the Strong One Above and told him to use this pipe during the ritual. These prayers were to ask the Strong One Above to bring buffalo close to the tribe so they could eat and prosper.
The woman then went on and taught the entire tribe how they should live, respecting each other, striving for peace, and honoring the earth.
Finishing her teaching, the woman began to walk off from camp, but stopped just outside the circle of tents and laid down. She rose in the form of a black buffalo. She laid down again and rose a second time as a red buffalo. Laying for a third time, she rose again as a brown buffalo. For a fourth time she laid down, and when she rose for the final time, she was a spotless white buffalo, which walked off into the distance and disappeared over a hill.
The Lakota people kept the rituals taught to them by the White Buffalo Calf Woman and the pipe she presented them has been passed down for generations, today being kept by Chief Arvol looking Horse, the 19th keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and Bundle.
Regardless if you believe that story or not, there’s no doubt some great lessons for us to take into our own lives.