LEGACY OF JANESVILLE'S WHITE BISON
Miracle, the Sacred White Female Buffalo Calf, was born on the farm of Dave, Valerie, and Corey Heider near Janesville, Wisconsin during the morning of August 20, 1994. Not an albino, she was considered to be the first white buffalo calf born since 1933.
Furthermore, she was extremely important to the religious beliefs of many American Indian and Canadian First Nations tribes.
The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations (known collectively as the Sioux) were considered Miracle's primary spiritual guardians and she played a pivotal role in the fulfillment of their most revered prophecies. However, her place in the prophecies and beliefs of
many tribes made her a highly sacred symbol to many of the American Indian Nations across the continent. She was seen by a
vast number of people as a symbol of hope and renewal for humanity and for harmony between all peoples, all races, in our world
Although not American Indian, the Heider family came to view Miracle as a special gift which belonged to the hearts of all people. Commercialization was not allowed. They opened their farm to visitors free of charge seven days a week so that people could visit Miracle at the pasture fence. For safety reasons, visitors were not allowed into the pasture. Miracle was, after all, a wild buffalo as are the rest of the bison on the farm. Many people came to offer prayers in her presence; some came simply out of curiosity.
Whatever their reason for visiting Miracle and this simple farm, thousands came and few people left unaffected by their time there.
Tragically, and unexpectedly, Miracle died of natural causes on September 19, 2004.
In fulfillment of certain prophecies of numerous indigenous cultures, Miracle had turned all colors of humanity by the time she was six
months old (white, black, yellow, red) before finally settling into a red and brown coloration as an adult. She had begun to lighten again but her
death interrupted any further color changes. No one will ever know if she would have gone back to her original white.
Miracle's Second Chance
On August 25, 2006, another extraordinary miracle occurred on the Heider family farm. During a massive lightning storm, another white buffalo calf, this time a male, was born in the early morning hours to the Heider herd. Like Miracle, he was not an albino.
Named by Valerie Heider, “Miracle’s Second Chance” was a lively, captivating, confident calf who seemed to be fully aware of his
special role. Mrs. Heider says she picked this name because the calf exhibits so many of the same behaviors that the original
Miracle did as a calf and also because, “He looks a lot like her, too.” Even further, the herd clearly was aware of the calf’s unique
similarity. The Heiders related that the herd treats Miracle’s Second Chance exactly like it did Miracle by keeping him in the
center of the herd, the most protected position. Additionally, the other mother buffalos stepped in and kept their own calves from being too rough with him.
Amazingly, Miracle’s Second Chance was not from any genetic line connected to the original Miracle. He was born to a Grand
Champion bison mother purchased in Missouri by the Heiders to strengthen and diversify their herd. The sire, an unruly and
dangerous 12 or 13 month old bull (a long yearling), was sent to slaughter before the calf was born.
On Sunday Evening November 26, 2006, Miracle Second Chance was killed after being struck by lightning. "It's so ironic," Val
Heider said "There was a crack of lightning that lit up the sky on the day he was born, and the same thing happened on the night he died."
If all of this sounds a little crazy to you, consider this: Statistically, the chances of a bison being born white, according to the
National Buffalo Association, are 1 in 10 million births. Three have been born on the Heider farm. A third white buffalo calf was
born on the Heider farm in 1997, but died at four days old. Consider also that the only other documented white buffalo during the 20th century died in 1959. His name was Big Medicine. He lived for 26 years. The name "Big Medicine" was chosen due to the
sacred power attributed to white bison. Following his death in 1959, his body was preserved and is now displayed at the Montana Historical Society.