White Bison Spotlighted in The New York Times


It’s a message from the spirits, and now The New York Times has learned of the birth of a white buffalo, in Goshen, Connecticut.

Visitors are expected to flood to the farm for a naming ceremony this summer, among them elders from the Lakota Nation in South Dakota and other traditional Indians from around the northeast. They will also participate in other ceremonies, including a sweat lodge.

Called Tatanka Ska in the Sioux language, the bison was born June 16, at 1 p.m., on Peter Fay’s Mohawk Bison ranch in Goshen, Connecticut. The 53-year-old Fay said he was watching one female giving birth when he noticed a second one was doing the same.

“I was watching and watching and when the second one hit the ground, it was white,” Fay told The New York Times. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an animal born, but they’re wet. So you don’t see much until the mom dries it off, but once it stood up to nurse, and it was right next to the other one, it looked like a ghost.”

As the New York Times points out, the birth comes at an auspicious time, just when conservationists, tribal groups and producers are pressing the federal government to add the bison to the national symbol, alongside the bald eagle, and designate it as the national mammal.

There may be as few as one white bison out of every 10 million, according to the Times. In addition to being rare and sacred, they also must be guarded. In May, Lightning Medicine Cloud, a year-old white bison calf, was killed and skinned, and its mother as well, in Texas. A reward has been offered.