UPDATE: The owners of the Lakota Ranch have released the following statement to Indian Country Today Media Network (the original news report follows it):
To my fellow Native Brothers and Sisters in Indian Country,
Lightning Medicine Cloud, a true spiritual blessing was born at the Lakota Ranch on May 12, 2011. He now has joined his earth father and our heavenly father, and Lightning’s mother, Buffalo Woman, also went on to join her son one day after Lightning left the earth.
There is an internal investigation through Hunt County Sheriff and Homeland Security in process, and a $5,000 reward offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the premeditated crime deaths of Lightning Medicine Cloud and his mother, Buffalo Woman. Thus far, the investigation has concluded that neither were killed by natural causes.
The Greenville Scholarship Powwow scheduled for May 11-12, 2012 will proceed as planned, and will continue to celebrate the birth of a rare, non-albino, white, male buffalo who was brought in by God, but taken out by hands of evil people. We welcome one and all to join us for the Traditional Scholarship Powwow that Greenville has hosted for the past 18 years, held at the Lakota Ranch in Greenville, TX.
It has been a heartache as we mourn the death of Lightning Medicine Cloud and his mother, however his legacy will forever live on through the message he brought as “The Hope of All Nations”. Lightning was brought in as a spiritual blessing from God and left by the hands of evil people. This premeditated crime will NOT go unsolved, and there will be closure for us all, and consequences for those who did it.
May you all rest in peace, dearest Gentle Ben, Lightning Medicine Cloud, and Buffalo Woman.
You will be missed very much, but NEVER forgotten. It has been our honor to have taken care of you and shared in your greatness.
—Arby and Pat Little Soldier
Lightning Medicine Cloud, born May 12, 2011 on a stormy night at the Lakota Ranch in Greenville Texas, was a natural white buffalo—an extremely rare occurrence, happening an estimated once per ten million births. In June, a naming ceremony attracted over 2,000 visitors to the ranch, and a report on the proceedings cited beliefs held by some Lakota that the calf was the third white buffalo ever, and the first male in 150 years. Such a white buffalo is tied to the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, and is the most sacred animal, perhaps the most sacred thing on the planet, to the Lakota people.
In March, the discovery that a ranch in Hunt, Texas offered the chance to kill a white buffalo for $13,500 sparked outrage in Indian country. A day after the news broke, the owner of the ranch told Indian Country Today Media Network that he would cease offering the white buffalo hunt. The buffalo being killed at that ranch and others, like those being born on a ranch in Bend, Oregon, are not naturally-occurring white buffalo—as an expert told ICTMN in March, knowledge of genetics has allowed modern breeders to engineer white bison.
The annual Greenville Scholarship Native American Powwow, which was traditionally held in late January, had been moved to the weekend of May 11-12 and called (perhaps unofficially) the First Annual Lightning Medicine Cloud Powwow in the buffalo calf’s honor. The event’s flyer is below: