source: wfaa.com

White Buffalo Removed from Dallas Truck Stop

Jack McNeel
2/21/13

A white buffalo named Lone Star no longer resides behind Fuel City in downtown Dallas. The immediate reaction of Native people, along with concerns expressed by Friends of Animals, have caused the owner of the truck stop to return the animal to a more desirable and respectful location.

Yolanda Bluehorse lives in Dallas but is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She said the situation came to light on February 16 when TV stations broadcast stories about the buffalo. She immediately tried to contact the owner. “I wanted to ask him ‘what are you trying to do?’" Mindful of a somewhat similar situation in which a different white buffalo calf was essentially turned into a carnival side show, Bluehorse was understandably concerned for this current animal. “You don’t do this,” she said, “especially where you sell alcohol. It is not right. It’s disrespectful. It’s offensive.”

The owner called her back on the 18th. “I explained, you need to be asking the tribes, ‘is it okay to use it in this fashion if you truly respect Native people like you say in the news reports?’"

Yolanda believes the owner of the truck stop was perhaps simply ignorant of tribal cultural and spirituality. The buffalo is female and is pregnant with a calf, which some Natives and animal activists say made the situation all the more offensive. Lone Star is a white buffalo that was bred to be white, as opposed to the ‘true’ white buffalo which are extremely rare. Even so, it’s still a white buffalo and held in great esteem and respect by Native people.

J. Eric Reed is a Dallas attorney, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and a former tribal attorney and prosecutor for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He talked of the location where the animal was on display. “Basically there’s a fenced in area and drainage ditch on the back side of a levee on the Trinity River.” It's in one of the busiest areas of downtown Dallas. “You could tell [from TV coverage] the animal was distressed. You could tell there was some stress.”

“Even if you’re not a Lakota or Great Plains Indian, the buffalo is still an iconic symbol, not just as a Native but an American icon and you have respect for it,” Reed said. “We [Choctaw] did not get the same creation story as the White Buffalo Calf Maiden but we still hold the animal as a sacred animal and wouldn’t do anything to disrespect it.”

Reed also held a three-way telephone conversation with the Fuel Station owner and with Edita Birnkrant, Director of Friends of Animals in New York. “We’re against any commercial exploitation of animals by businesses,” she said. “The owners of Fuel City were exhibiting this white buffalo as a scheme to draw more people to their business so they profit off it, the oddity of a white buffalo. I communicated to him that now you’re going to have two different groups of people in opposition to this – animal advocates and the Native American community.”

Edita Birnkrant also made the case that it would be worth the owner's while to do the right thing and relinquish the animal, because the negative publicity would be bad for his business. “I think they were hoping interest in the story would just go away and be swept under the rug.”

During that telephone conversation he agreed to relinquish the white buffalo. “I was glad he did the right thing,” Birnkrant said.

Bluehorse agrees: “He made the decision to relinquish the buffalo to Native American people."

She said that a decision had not yet been made as to where the buffalo would eventually go. “We’ve got to go pick it up, pay off the lease and get the paperwork. We have a couple ideas. I want to give it to an animal sanctuary or have a private friend of ours with a ranch take it.”

Reed added, “The private sanctuary is where she will be at least temporarily housed. It’s a placed where she will be protected and well fed and well cared for.”

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Comments

Libby Chapman's picture
Libby Chapman
Submitted by Libby Chapman on
Aho , blessing and thankfullness

Buffalo Girls Hotel, Canton, Texas's picture
Buffalo Girls H...
Submitted by Buffalo Girls H... on
Thank you for saving Lone Star. She and her baby will be much happier when they can "roam".

Mary Bollinger's picture
Mary Bollinger
Submitted by Mary Bollinger on
Let her go back to the Native Americans. You know she will be taken care of. I do beleive in God and I was reading about the history of the Great White Buffalo. I read so many things said that it was equal to what I have read in my bible. Let the Natives have her. Please!!!!!!!!

Cheryl Krider's picture
Cheryl Krider
Submitted by Cheryl Krider on
I live in the Metroplex and I am also a Native American and when I first saw this story on the evening news I could not believe that a person could and would use this buffalo to draw crowds so they could sell more beer and gas!! Now I feel better that "LoneStar" will not be the big attraction it once was. Thank you

Denise Franklin's picture
Denise Franklin
Submitted by Denise Franklin on
I am an animal advocate and have many friends who are also, all over the world. My 5 children are of Indian decent, who are very involved with Indians and rituals of the American Tribes. I say the man did the wise thing before his business was destroyed with this publicity, now that this has gone viral. The World is Watching.

Roger Rees's picture
Roger Rees
Submitted by Roger Rees on
The Native Americans have shown me all life is sacred. I come from near where a white buffalo was born in Wisconsin and its ownes shoed much respect for the Native peoples and protected the buffalo. That was years ago and I am now in Iowa and have lost tuch with the buffalo in Wisconsin. The Native Americans came and showed there respect and we all learned the story of the white buffalo. It is to bad we that stole all from the original peoples of this land did not instead learn there ways. Roger

Roger Rees's picture
Roger Rees
Submitted by Roger Rees on
The Native Americans have shown me all life is sacred. I come from near where a white buffalo was born in Wisconsin and its ownes shoed much respect for the Native peoples and protected the buffalo. That was years ago and I am now in Iowa and have lost tuch with the buffalo in Wisconsin. The Native Americans came and showed there respect and we all learned the story of the white buffalo. It is to bad we that stole all from the original peoples of this land did not instead learn there ways. Roger

Galen Dulitz's picture
Galen Dulitz
Submitted by Galen Dulitz on
Would like to see her go to the Lakota nation. My preference would be to the South Dakota area. Nothing against Texas, but history....

valk1201's picture
valk1201
Submitted by valk1201 on
We at Friends of Animals were very happy we were able to help We respect the sanctity and well-being of animals everywhere. Peace to all.
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