The Mystery of Lightning Medicine Cloud

Arby Little Soldier was sure that the birth of a rare white buffalo on his ranch would usher in an age of peace and harmony. a year later, the animal was dead—and so was Arby’s dream.
Photograph by Misty Keasler

The pilgrims came from all over the country to see the sacred white buffalo calf get his name. More than two thousand of them gathered at Lakota Ranch, five miles west of Greenville, on June 29, 2011. Some danced, some sang, some just watched the ceremony. Many of the Native Americans were dressed in the jewelry and clothing of their tribe—Sioux, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Blackfoot. They wore eagle-feather headdresses, embroidered shawls, elaborate necklaces, and ribbon shirts. Some, such as Edwin Benson—who at 79 was the last remaining speaker of the Mandan language—had come from as far away as North Dakota. Most had come from North and East Texas, men like Gordon Poche and Sam Lone Wolf, who was the ceremonial leader, and women like Yolonda Blue Horse. Whites

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