White Buffalo Calf Woman

Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman


This legend is one of magic and teachings! The story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman has origins in North America and specifically comes from the Lakota (Sioux) Nation. The Sioux were primarily in areas of South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. There is also evidence of them migrating throughout Illinois, Nebraska, Montana and even parts of Canada. The story goes that the White Buffalo Calf Woman was an astonishingly beautiful supernatural spirit who appeared in the form of a woman. When she appeared, he was seen standing graciously upon a hill dressed in white buckskin. The two men who saw her first were out hunting, and instantly became distracted. Her beauty was so radiant that one of the hunters could not resist but to have lusting desire for her. The other hunter warned him, and recognized her as a sacred spirit. He told his fellow hunter not to go near the woman; unfortunately he did not listen and the White Buffalo Calf Woman turned the man into nothing as a cloud swept over them. When the dust cloud settled in the air – the only thing beside the woman was a pile of bones.


The White Buffalo Calf woman informed the remaining hunter to go back to his people and speak of her arrival. He did just that, and when she arrived to the Lakota Sioux, they were prepared for her and all that she would bring. Upon her arrival she showed herself to them first as a white buffalo. She shapeshifted into the form of a woman and that is when the teaching began. She taught them how to reconnect with the Creator, and how to bring harmony and balance to their lives. The White Buffalo Calf Woman brought with her the prayer pipe, also called the sacred bundle. With the prayer pipe she showed the Lakota how to live by the Seven Sacred Rites which included values like: prayer, respect, compassion, truth, humility, wisdom, caring, and generosity.


There are variations of this story, and the White Buffalo Calf Woman appears in several other parts of Native American mythology. This story has been passed down through oral traditions for over 2000 years. The White Buffalo Calf woman can be considered a goddess to some, and it is said that she has been correlated to the goddess Whope.


The importance of this story is that it represents the significance of a woman to an entire nation of people. Through the teachings she brought the Lakota not only the sacred pipe; but also sun dance, inipi, and vision quest among many other rituals and rites. It is speculated by historians that the White Buffalo Calf Woman brought more than seven rituals to the people, but belief systems are known to change over time to conform to other main views. Whatever the case may be, she is and will always be a legend.