Rare buffalo considered sacred by some American Indians dies

Friday, September 24th 2004, 8:24 pm
By: News On 6

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) _ 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 and was buried in an unmarked grave, its owner, Dave Heider, told WCLO-AM of Janesville on Friday.

``She meant a lot to a lot of people,'' Heider said.

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.

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