Lightening Kills White Buffalo Calf

by Gina Boltz
Native Village Publications
Member, Link Center Foundation

Janesville, WI:  On Sunday evening, November 26, bolt of lightening struck and killed Miracle's Second Chance, The Sacred White Buffalo.  "Chance"  was discovered in a field after his caretaker, Dave Heider, saw Chance's mother walking alone and grunting.  Dave followed the white calf's mother up a hill where he found Chance lying dead near a tree.

Valerie Heider, Dave's wife, had been at home when the lightening struck. She said it was like "flashbulbs" going off in all the windows. Seconds later, a huge orchestra of thunder rolled across the sky. The storm itself began about ten minutes later. It was after the storm when Chance was found.

Miracle's Second Chance is the third white buffalo to be born at the Heider ranch. The first lived only a few days. The second, a female named Miracle, was born on August 20, 1994 and died in 2004. Chance, a male, was born August 25, 2006, the same day another lightening storm hit the Janesville area.  "He was born in lightening and taken by lightening" said Stephanie Schwartz, webmaster for Miracle and Miracle's Second Chance and close friends with the Heiders.

White buffalo, which are extremely rare, are sacred to many Native American tribes.  The animals fulfill the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman and her message that foretells peace.  Part of the legend includes the calf changing colors: from white, to black, to red, then brown. After Chance was killed, Dave Heider clipped off part of the buffalo's coat. The fur near the skin was growing in jet black.

Chance was buried next to Miracle. It is expected his grave will be visited by many people, including those who now consider the Heiders' farm as "sacred" grounds.

Four other buffalo, including two calves, were also killed during the storm and buried in a separate area. Heider thinks the same lightening strike killed all five.

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