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Sioux flock to see 'sacred' buffalo

Thousands of people came from miles around to see and honour a legend in the flesh - the white buffalo born in a thunderstorm on a north east Texas ranch.

The rare white buffalo calf, regarded as sacred by Lakota Sioux tradition, was honoured with Native American prayers, religious songs and the solemn smoking of a pipe in a special naming and dedication ceremony at the Lakota Ranch in Greenville, north east of Dallas.

Flag-flying patriotism, a steady Native American drum beat and scorching heat provided the backdrop for the spiritual event that drew about 2,000.

The calf was named Lightning Medicine Cloud - a reference to the thunderstorm that marked the arrival of his birth as well as a tribute to a white buffalo born in 1933 named Big Medicine.

According to Lakota Sioux tradition, Whope, the goddess of peace, once appeared in the form of a white buffalo calf. Some say the goddess will return once four such calves are born.

But whether the Greenville, Texas, calf was the third of its kind ever born or the first male in 150 years wasn't immediately clear.

But all agreed that the birth of such a calf was unusual and stressed that it was not an albino, given its dark nose, eyes and marking on the tip of its tail. Several who spoke at the ceremony said they considered it a blessing.

"He's the hope of all nations," said Arby Little Soldier, upon whose land the calf was born on May 12. "The red man, black man, white man and yellow man; we've all got to come together as one."

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