Discuss as:

Game hunt for sacred white buffaloes riles Native groups

A big-game hunting ranch in Texas faced a stampede of criticism this week when Lakota Indians noticed that the business was offering a White Buffalo Hunting Package for $13,500, Indian Country Today Media reported.

White buffalo are considered sacred among the Sioux and some other Native American tribes and feature in their stories of creation.

"We’re outraged,” James Swan, a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member, told the news site. “We don’t have a problem with people having [white buffalo]. We just have a problem with people making big bucks killing them."


The article that exposed the hunting package includes a picture from the website of the Texas Hunt Lodge that shows a man in a 10-gallon hat posed with his white buffalo trophy kill. The site promised: "Your white buffalo trophy will be huge!" according to Indian Country.

After readers bombarded the Texas Hunt Lodge with complaints, the business pulled white buffalo from its list of big game offerings. There appear to be no remaining references to this package on the site.

The ad had been around for three years before it apparently attracted the attention of the tribe, ranch owner Aaron Bulkley told Indian Country Today Media.

"I’m not saying I disagree with it or agree with it, but I am going to take it off the website," he was quoted as saying. When asked if white buffalo hunts would be offered, he reportedly said: "Not for white buffalo."

www.lightningmedicinecloud.com

A flyer advertising the naming ceremony for a white buffalo calf in Greenville, Tex. in June 2011.

The Texas Hunt Lodge did not respond to msnbc.com phone calls in time for publication.

The photo and the angry response can be seen on Indian Country’s Facebook page.

"Pure evil," commented reader Ally Wilkin.

"There are no words for such a thing … I grieve," said Susan Gale.

"The white man’s nature is to destroy himself," wrote Steven Medina. "No one can change this. The sooner the better."

"I've already said prayers for this white man and his white family," wrote Carmelita Quena. "It’s a shame but what goes around comes around."

White buffalo occur extremely rarely in nature, according to a biologist quoted in the story. He said they are less rare in modern times because people breed them for the recessive trait that produces the white coat.

But the significance of the white buffalo has endured.

The most recent white (non-albino) male buffalo calf celebrated by Native Americans as a sacred gift was born on a Greenville, Texas, ranch in May 2011. The calf was named Lightning Medicine Cloud in a large two-day ceremony in June that drew thousands of people.

The Lakota Ranch described the significance of the birth, quoting Floyd Hand, a Native American medicine man from South Dakota.

"It will bring about purity of mind, body and spirit," he said. It will "unify all nations — black, red, yellow, and white."

Follow US News on msnbc.com on Twitter and Facebook

Follow Kari Huus on Facebook