Dakota Datebook

White Cloud

Saturday, July 10, 2004

According to a Native American legend, a traveling war party once came upon a very large herd of buffalo spread throughout a wide valley, and right in their midst laid a peaceful and beautiful buffalo of pure white. The war party realized that the other animals kept their distance, which was interpreted as a sign of great respect, because the white buffalo was something very special and has remained so ever since.

Which brings us to White Cloud, a female albino who is now a part of the herd at the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown. She was born on this date in 1996 on Daniel and Jean Shirek’s farm north of Michigan, North Dakota. Their grandson first noticed her in the pasture but thought she was a large white rock. Daughter Francis said that the other buffalo huddled around White Cloud at first, as if they knew how rare she was; the chances of a buffalo being born albino are said to be about one in a billion. It was therefore a huge surprise when another albino – this one a male – was born on May 5th, 2003 at the Big Sky Buffalo Ranch near Granville. His name is Mystical.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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