The staff at Bitterroot Valley Bison Ranch in Missoula were astonished when they saw what had been born on their land. Tiny, wet, shivering as it tried to take its first tentative steps, it was a ball of slicked back fur. White fur.
Many Native-American tribes regard a white buffalo as sacred, and with only 1 out of 10,000,000 bison born white, it is easy to see why. There were and are so special that their appearance was and is believed to be an omen or portent. In 1833, for instance, Cherokee natives hunted and killed a white buffalo during the Leonid Meteor Shower, a confluence of events judged so sacred that the Cherokee wrote an important treaty on its hide. And the hides can be precious -- Teddy Roosevelt reportedly once offered hunter J. Wright Mooar $5,000 for a white buffalo hide harvested in 1876. The hunter declined the offer, holding on to the rare coat for the rest of his life.
The ranch has chosen to remain anonymous for now, as the birth of a white buffalo is of global interest. In addition to majestic and sacred, as the staff of the ranch discovered, white buffalo are also pretty damn cute. Just look at the little missy.
They named her Faith, which seems pretty fitting, as the appearance of a white buffalo has historically been viewed as a sign of good things to come.
Here's to you, Faith. Welcome to earth.