Friday, December 26, 2014

Native American Skies: Winter Solstice

The sky has been an important indicator of what is happening and what will happen on earth for ancient peoples all over the world for as long as man has possessed the curiosity to look up.  The movement of the sun across the horizon and back throughout the year, has been especially important as an indicator and predictor of the seasons.  On December 21st, 2014 the sun travelled as far south as it would go, rose for three days in the same place and then started its journey north again.  That day marked the “Winter Solstice” (“Solstice” means “sun standstill”), the day with the longest night and shortest day of the year.    The cultures of the Americas observed this very special day in many different ways, but for all, it was time of great portents.  For what if the sun decided to continue its journey south?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

White Buffalo, Part 7: Eastern Herds

On some of the early drafts of my novel, “The First Raven Mocker”, witch is book 1 of the “Cherokee Chronicles” series,  I was criticized for references to the ancient Cherokee using buffalo blankets.  Although, I am sure the Cherokee could have traded for buffalo hides,  the Woodland buffalo did thrive east of the Mississippi in pre-Columbian times.  In 1540, De Soto sent two soldiers to scout for gold in Cherokee territory.  They brought back a dressed buffalo skin, the first ever obtained by a white man.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

White Buffalo, Part 6: Hunting White Buffalo

In previous articles, I have mentioned that a true white buffalo happens only once every ten million births, according to the National Bison Association.  But, today, white buffalo are not nearly so rare.  According to Aaron Bulkley, owner of Texas Hunt Lodge, “There are multiple breeding ranches all over the U.S. that breed white buffalo.  If you breed a white buffalo to a white buffalo you will have a white buffalo.”  He estimates there are over fifty white buffalo throughout the country.  Not all of the white buffalo are “true”, some are the product of breeding with cattle.  However, regardless of breeding, white buffalo are still sacred to many Native Americans as was demonstrated recently when the Texas Hunt Lodge advertised a “White Buffalo hunt package “.

Friday, December 5, 2014

White Buffalo, Part 5: Lone Star

Lone Star with calf
A true white buffalo happens only once every ten million births, according to the National Bison Association, but many white buffalo in North America result from breading a buffalo with cattle (sometimes referred to as bison hybrid,  beefalo or cattalo). Breeding the buffalo with cattle has been a serious setback to wild American bison conservation. Most current bison herds are genetically polluted or partly crossbred with cattle leaving only four genetically unmixed American bison herds left.   One of these herds is kept at the Fort Worth Nature Center near Fort Worth, Texas.  The crossbred herd vary in type and color, depending on the breed of cattle used [e.g. Herefords and Charolais (beef cattle), Holsteins (dairy) or Brahman (humped cattle)].  Buffalo bred with Charolais cattle produce a much lighter colored calf sometimes almost white.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

White Buffalo, Part 4: Mystery of Lightning Medicine Cloud

Lightning Medicine Cloud with mother
May 12, 2011, Arby Little Soldier, owner of the Lakota Buffalo Ranch in east Texas discovered that one of his buffalo cows (dams) had given birth to a genuine white buffalo calf.  A few months later during a celebration drawing over 2,000 admirers, the calf was named Lightning Medicine Cloud.  The white calf  represented the return of White Buffalo Woman and her promise to bring hope and help to the people.  Arby Little Soldier announced,  “The spiritual message behind this buffalo today is the hope of all nations to come together …”