Yahoo News:  Associated Press Release

Rare Buffalo, Sacred to Some Indians, Dies

Fri September 24, 2004 10:19 PM ET

JANESVILLE, Wis. - A buffalo considered sacred by some American Indians because it was born white has died of natural causes at the age of 10, its owner said.

The animal, named Miracle, drew as many as 2,000 visitors a day in the year after its birth in 1994. Miracle died Sunday, its owner, Dave Heider, said Friday.

Although its hide became darker as it aged, some associated Miracle with the white buffalo of American Indian prophecies. According to lore, such an animal will reunite all the races of man and restore balance to the world.

Some tribe members who visited Heider's rural southern Wisconsin farm to see the animal had expected its coat to someday turn from brown back to white.

Heider said Miracle fulfilled prophecy by turning from white to black, red and yellow  colors of the various races of man  before developing the typical dark brown coat of the buffalo.

"Basically, she did everything that the prophecy said she would do, except turn white again," he said. "The prophecy said she would turn white when there's peace in the world, and we don't have much peace, do we?"

But he added, "like my wife said, when people came here to see her, she gave them a glimmer of hope."

The female buffalo's offspring included four surviving female buffalo, all born without white coloring.
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