Beloit Daily News
Monday, Sep 27, 2004 - 11:37:31 am CDT
EDITORIAL: Power to heal? In a sense, yes
Miracle the buffalo really did provide a service to mankind during his lifetime.
FOR THOSE WHO werenít around, or were too young to remember, the fuss over a dead buffalo in Janesville surely seems ridiculous.
But letís look back a decade. On a small farm just south of Janesville, a buffalo calf was born. Its coat was pure white. By itself, that ís rare, and captured considerable attention in the local and regional media.
The calf quickly moved from curiosity to celebrity, though, when Native Americans began to make pilgrimages to the Heider farm. The calf was believed to be the embodiment of an ancient Indian prophecy. At the height of the hoopla, some 2,000 people each day visited the Heider farm.
NATIVE AMERICANS believed Miracle, as the calf was named, was born to reunite all the races of the planet. Over the course of its lifetime, it was explained, Miracle's coat would change colors to reflect the races, before turning white once again in a symbol of unification.
Representatives of the tribes often gathered at the Heider farm, to perform religious ceremonies related to the prophecy. Such gatherings generated widespread interest, and were reported in the media both regionally and nationally.
In the process, considerable understanding for the beliefs of Native Americans was promoted as the Miracle story stirred interest. Beliefs that otherwise would have been unknown or shrouded in mystery came to the forefront. It was an opportunity for Americans to learn more about the spiritual foundations of the Indian peoples.
IN THAT SENSE, Miracle did fulfill the prophecy. The calf gained the power to heal and bridge a racial divide, by capturing the attention of so many.
In fact, there was such interest in the story that the Daily News, through its online edition of the BDN Connection, maintained a link to a collection of Miracle news articles. The stories have been among the most popular, as evidenced by online usage, ever produced by the newspaper. The cross-cultural understanding that interest promoted, in our view, has been a good thing.
Dave and Valerie Heider, by the way, deserve considerable credit and praise for the respectful manner in which they handled what had to be, at times, a very difficult situation. They always were helpful, cooperative and tolerant.
This unusual story was fun and harmless for those who didn't believe, and deep and spiritual for those who did believe. No one was hurt or offended. Cultural understanding was achieved. Miracle did his job.