“To have another white buffalo calf that’s born is much more of a signal to people that not only is our culture and people living, but thriving,” the chief said. The calf’s mother, plus a snowy a buffalo, was created in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park in 2009 and gifted to the community’s herd because of its significance through the generations.
“The importance of the white buffalo is that… we obtained all of our teachings and our civilization and our ceremonies were given through the white buffalo calf woman,” said Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan. “We have a great deal of people in the community that they follow the beliefs.”
“That the white buffalo signals the start of our culture and our beliefs and our ceremonies,” he added. “It’s really important for us.” Tacan said he understood they were dealing with something special once he saw the calf, but didn’t go out of the way to tell everyone. Tacan is among the caretakers of the community’s herd.
Since the arrival, people were coming from as far as the United States to see the baby buffalo and leave tobacco offerings wrapped in colourful ribbons and components that currently line the fence across the buffalo’s enclosure.
“It’s up to you community members to come to the buffalo and put out your offerings,” he added.
Tacan said he wasn’t sure the odds have the white buffalo being born, but it’s the first one the community’s herd has seen because his mother was welcomed into the herd more than six decades back.
He said the neighborhood has had requests to deliver out the hens and set it on display at fairs and other events, but the community is choosing to keep it from the pasture instead. “I don’t think we’d want to display her mother in that sort of manner,” explained Tacan.
“It’s a sacred animal… If you would like to see it you’d need to come out here”
“We are attempting to work in a respectful way.”
Tacan said the buffalo right are now utilized as a teaching opportunity for the neighborhood while they build the herd’s up numbers, but may look at some kind of commercial performance in the future. “The buffalo were important in the past and we hope they will be important in the future coming up,” he explained.