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White Buffalo Hunt Causing Uproar Throughout Indian Country Will Stop

Jack McNeel
3/7/12

“We’re outraged,” James Swan remarks regarding the white buffalo hunt offered by a Texas hunting ranch. “We don’t have a problem with people having [white buffalo]. We just have a problem with people making big bucks killing them.”

Swan is a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member and President and Founder of United Urban Warrior Society. “In our Lakota ways our creation story starts with the white buffalo. Over the centuries the white buffalo, to us, is a very sacred part of our culture and part of our spirituality. Our people didn’t have a written language. Everything was passed down through stories over the centuries and white buffalo was a center part of everything we do.”

The story on the white buffalo hunt was posted to Indian Country Today Media Network on Monday afternoon and kicked off a firestorm of Facebook activity. Late Tuesday, Aaron Bulkley, owner of Texas Hunt Lodge, which advertised the $13,500 buffalo hunt on its website, spoke with ICTMN about the matter. “We’ve had a ton of feedback from people since the white buffalo story came out, and I understand the white buffalo is sacred to Indians," he said. "It’s been on the website for three years and all of a sudden people are excited about it. I do understand their point. I’m not saying I disagree with it or agree with it but I am going to take it off the website.”

Asked directly if he would be offering white buffalo hunts at all, he responded, “Not for white buffalo.”

Bulkley also explained that white buffalo were not rare like in earlier days. “There are multiple breeding ranches all over the U.S. that breed white buffalo.” He also said the numbers are well over 50 throughout the country including many in Texas. “If you breed a white buffalo to a white buffalo you will have a white buffalo.”

Swan had questioned if the animals were beefalo, a buffalo-cattle cross, or true buffalo but felt either way it was wrong. “The argument would be it looks like one (buffalo) and everybody thinks it is. The argument that it’s not technically a buffalo to me just doesn’t work.”

Bulkley cleared up that question, saying, “They’re buffalo, not beefalo.”

“These hunter guys, they obviously know the significance of the sacred white buffalo because of the way they advertise it. I don’t know what could hurt the native community harder than something like this,” Swan said.

Cynthia Hart-Button was even more emotional about hunting white buffalo. She is President of Sacred World Peace Alliance with Lakota ancestry. She and her husband also have 14 white buffalo on their Oregon property, three born this past year. “I am repulsed!” was her response. “I am beyond … just completely beyond! I am so adrenalized right now because of these buffalo.” She and her husband work with various tribes and provide hair that has been shed by their buffalo to Pendleton Mills for blankets, but not before they do prayer circles and prayers on the hair.

The number of white buffalo has definitely increased in recent years. Dan Sharps is a biologist at the National Bison Range in Montana, where the famous white buffalo “Big Medicine” was born in 1933 and lived till his death in 1959. Sharps said he recalled that the incidence of white buffalo in naturally occurring herds in earlier years was “something like one in ten million.”

Sharps said that the entire population of buffalo is about half a million. That combines the number between private herds and those found in such places as federal and state herds. That’s a far cry from the wild populations that supplied Native Americans with food, tools, clothing and housing for many generations but it is also a significant increase from the low point around 1900.

The increase in the percentage of white buffalo can be attributed to better knowledge about genetics and breeding -- breeders are simply able to create white buffalo in abundance today.

But to many who saw the Lodge's website, a white buffalo is a white buffalo. “Our goal is to bring this awareness, to shut this down,” Swan remarks. “The eagle is also sacred to our people but it’s also a national emblem so it’s protected. We need to get the same status for the white buffalo to become a protected species. Not buffalo in general but just the white buffalo. If they keep exploiting this, all it’s going to do is create more, longer animosities between the indigenous peoples and the non-indigenous peoples.”

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livingawake's picture
livingawake
Submitted by livingawake on
I am very glad to see that the Texas Hunting Lodge has decided to stop the hunts, but the one thing that saddens me about this article is that in her remarks Swan continues the battle with her comment at the very end about 'If they keep exploiting this, all it's going to do is create more, longer animosities between the indigenous peoples and the non-indigenous peoples'. All of us on this sacred Earth are indigenous and to keep the 'us against them battle' alive negates the teachings that White Buffalo Calf Woman brought and that the pipe represents. No matter who is a perpetrator or who is a victim throughout thousands of years it is time to drop this so that we can all come together to save our asses and to return to a closer alignment with natural wisdom. Somehow I have to think that our Mother that we all lay our heads upon is tired of her children's squabbles and is ready for some peace within her home.

authorroberthayward's picture
authorroberthayward
Submitted by authorroberthayward on
Buffalo, AKA American Bison, originally Totonka, were an indigenous species that were integral for the survival of many Plains and Midwest tribes. The government was well aware of this, and decimated the massive herds for the specific purpose of destroying Native culture and survival. These new 'beefalo, that are being produced by members of the American Bison Association for mass production of meat and exploitation of ancient culture for monetary gain, are hardly what we used to call Totonka. Now, they are breeding the beefalo with the white Charlaois cattle to mass produce so called "sacred white buffalo" for monetary gain, and nothing else. If they could clone Sitting Bulls genes, they would keep him in a petri dish and sell locks of his hair to the unwitting as good luck charms. These are NOT Sacred White Buffalo of prophecy, but disgusting, cheap imitations, another obvious mockery of our culture and Religions. There should be laws against the blatant desecration of religious icons....oh, thats right, there already is...they just dont apply to Native Religious expression. Instead, there are still laws against our very ceremonies that we have been practicing for thousands of years. No different than the recent early morning plowing under of a sacred Indian burial ground in southern California last month. It hasnt ended, it just is faintly disguised. The government still has a vendetta against all things Native. It is ingrained into their soul.

lochiel1745's picture
lochiel1745
Submitted by lochiel1745 on
I am Scottish with no links to the USA other than my love of the Native American culture, but am outraged at the thought of this Texan Lodge selling and promoting the slaughter of the Sacred White Buffalo. I actually e-mailed them from my home in Scotland protesting about their morals and have asked my friends to do the same. I understand that there is a Native American story saying that when hen you die you stand at one end of a bridge that takes you to the summer lands, All the animals you have killed in your life are at the otherside. They decide if you cross. I hope that is true.

kevinkeck's picture
kevinkeck
Submitted by kevinkeck on
hang 'em!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
In my opinion, if a white Buffalo is born ? It should be protected, and by a Native family that understands the whole sacred meaning to our people. There is a reason why a white buffalo keeps making its presence known. We need to figure this out, take time to pay attention. I have my own idea, but i am not a medicine man nor a holy man. And will not speak out of turn before my elders. But we as a First Nation People, we need to act on this, and not let the whites have control over something as sacred as this. And i will do what i can to rattle some cages..... Mitakuye Oyasin.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
In my opinion, if a white Buffalo is born ? It should be protected, and by a Native family that understands the whole sacred meaning to our people. There is a reason why a white buffalo keeps making its presence known. We need to figure this out, take time to pay attention. I have my own idea, but i am not a medicine man nor a holy man. And will not speak out of turn before my elders. But we as a First Nation People, we need to act on this, and not let the whites have control over something as sacred as this. And i will do what i can to rattle some cages..... Mitakuye Oyasin.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Guess they are people that could care less about how others might feel.I guess it must make them feel like big men,well it doesn't!It makes them terrible people!What if we did that to things that are sacred to them?????

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Guess they are people that could care less about how others might feel.I guess it must make them feel like big men,well it doesn't!It makes them terrible people!What if we did that to things that are sacred to them?????

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
This is a shameful thing these white people are doing. It will only expose them for what they are: Hate stirrers! The Creator has a way of leveling the field of those who go about like these people are. So don't be surprised when an evil wind blows on these people & they are kissed with death before their time. Evil ones meet the same fate as they dished out. Until their survivors repent for the wickedness their ancestors committed the curse continues generation after generation. Evil breeds evil.
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