The Wolakota People of the great Sioux nation of the United States have an ancient legend that calls for the commemoration of a day of peace among all people. This is to remind one another that all peoples of the world, despite their wanderings and struggles for survival, should constantly be aware of their Oneness in the Great Spirit. Here, Vivek tells of his meeting with Chief Arvol of the Sioux Nations in South Africa.
Just more than a decade ago, Arvol, Chief Looking Horse of the Sioux nation, and his elders decided to expand the commemoration from the Black Hills of South Dakota to encompass the peoples of the world, for, they said, All are One beneath our superficial differences.
In 2002, the commemoration was held in Mt Edcombe near Durban. Arranged by Alta Reynolds and with the local community the hosts, Chief Arvol, his wife Paula and a sizeable group of elders of the Sioux nation came to South Africa for the commemoration of World Peace and Prayer Day(WPPD).
To start the commemoration, Chief Looking Horse, himself a giant of a man at 6ft 9inches, and resplendent in Golden Eagle headdress, rode on a massive and mettlesome black horse at the head of a of mounted procession of Sioux elders from the old Phoenix Settlement, founded by Mahatma Gandhi during his South African sojourn, to the high school grounds in Mt Edgecombe on the peripheries of the coastal city of Durban, where the commemoration was held. Thousands of South Africans came to witness the commemoration.
It was the first time in history, and perhaps the last time, that Native Americans of the Sioux or any other nation, would ever ride horses in procession through those highways and streets linking Kwa Mashu, Phoenix and Mt Edgecombe or anywhere else in Africa for that matter. The objective was to underline the essential brotherhood of man over and above the superficial differences of race, creed and colour in what the Sioux and other native Americans believe are the end times in an age of man and Mother Earth.
The evening before the day of commemoration, Alta Reynolds and I joined Chief Arvol and his wife Paula in their hotel suite in Umhlanga Rocks near Durban. There the two of us had the great honour of hearing the Legend of the White Buffalo Woman for the first time.
My re-telling of this ancient legend of the Wolakota people of the Sioux nation follows below:
Legend of the White Buffalo Woman
Untold centuries ago, a group of the Lakota people had been caught in the grip of an unusually severe winter and all their food stocks had dwindled to nothing. In that snowy, white wilderness lashed relentlessly by blizzards, no game was in sight and death stared the tribe in the face.
They had been trapped in that white hell without food for days. When all seemed hopeless and there was nothing more to lose, the chief at the time called the last of the tribe’s braves before him to send on one final, desperate mission to find game that could sustain the people until the blizzards abated.
Two young men in their prime set off with their bows, arrows and tomahawks into the blinding and bone-chilling whiteness on what seemed a hopeless mission.
After a tremendous struggle against the raging elements, it became possible for the braves to see a few feet ahead through the white inferno, for the blizzard had momentarily abated. A figure that seemed to be a shambling buffalo of those plains was approaching. The braves, almost chilled to the bone and with a final effort of will more than strength, made ready their weapons and waited with bated breath.
As the shadowy figure approached like a mirage through the falling wind, it seemed to change from that of a pure white buffalo to that of a woman. Finally, when it was only feet away, the braves saw that it was an exquisitely beautiful Native American woman. The braves fell to their knees in great awe and trepidation before the apparition.
Yet, despite the solemnness of the moment, one of the braves had thoughts of possessing the wonderful woman. In a flash, he was engulfed in flames and burned to a cinder. The other was left, terrified and shaking like a leaf in the wind. The amazing woman addressed him in dulcet tones.
“I am the White Buffalo Woman”, she said, “I am the ancient Guardian of the Wolakota People. I have come to save you and the rest of the tribe from death and dissolution.”
Then she told him what is to come in the years far into the distant future. She told him of the coming to his plains of the white man and the advent of a new way of life for the Red People. She told him of the desecration of the holy places of the Red People by the white man and of the ending of an ancient way of life dependent on the migrations of the great herds and flocks of those plains. She told him of the signs that would be shown when even that time of the white man was to end.
One of those signs, she said, would be that creatures of the wild that are normally of many different colours would start to be born without their natural colouring. The young would be pure white. They would not be albinos but a naturally white species for their eyes would be normally-coloured.
It would start with the buffalo of the American plains, normally dark brown and almost black. White buffalo calves would start appearing all over the plains. After a while, other animals, birds and reptiles, never normally white, would start to make their appearance in many different parts of the world.
When that happens, the amazing woman said, the tribe would know that the time of the Great Purification of Mother Earth and all her creatures was at hand, and that an age in the annals of this planet man calls home was about to come to an end.
“Mark, though, that the world would not end. What was created by the Great Spirit cannot be destroyed by puny man. Only a way of life would end and a new chapter in the story of man and mother Earth would begin.”
Holding out a bundle wrapped in soft deerskin, she said, “Take this to your chief. Tell him that it contains a peace pipe and sacred herbs that are to be smoked by all the nations of the plains at appropriate times in future years. In time, your elders would be shown the manner in which this is to be done. You are brothers despite your differences. The pipe will ensure that that truth is never forgotten.
“Take the bundle and go back to the tribe. Soon the blizzard will die and I will lead the people to a herd of caribou. The time of your dissolution as a nation has not yet come. That day is well into the future and I will show a sign that would be multiplied many times over when it is near. For now, you and the tribe must live, and do the things that men must do on this earth which is our Mother.
“I will walk in the direction you must go to reach your tribe. Now take the bundle and go. Your people will be saved. I will come later to guide and to teach.”
So saying, she walked into the milky whiteness. The brave followed her misty form in total awe. Then he realised that the White Buffalo Woman had disappeared but that the shelters of his people, huddled together against the piercing wind, were dimly in sight.
The caribou came through the snow in the ensuing days and the tribe survived to live and multiply through untold generations. But through all those generations, they remembered the message of the White Buffalo Woman carried back to them by the lone brave who helped save their lives.
The Coming of the White Animals
Some two decades ago, the first white buffalo calf was born in America on a ranch on which a few remnants of the great herds that once roamed those planes were kept under protection. Others were to follow in other parts of that vast country.
Not long afterwards, animals of other species in many parts of the world started to have pure white offspring. In the past decade, the incidence of various species having unusually white young has been increasing in many corners of the world.
This phenomenon, predicted untold generations ago by the White Buffalo Woman, indicates to the Sioux nation that her prophesy has manifested. It would appear that the time of the Great Purification is now upon Mother Earth and all her creatures, including man. Events that are not yet apparent to the general populace would soon become as clear as day.
Yet the Great Purification after Kali Yuga must first come to pass. When the dust and the dross of this dark age have been swept away by the great earth changes that have already begun, the Shift of the Ages will come, heralding the dawn of a new golden age in the timeless annals of Mother Earth.
Since being told of this legend by Chief Looking Horse some thirteen years ago, I have witnessed, in various parts of the world, the appearance of many pure white animals and birds among species never normally white. There have been white lions in Timbevati in South Africa, white barn owls in England, white tigers in India, white wildebeeste in Serengeti, white wallabies and kangaroos in New Zealand and the Australian outback, a white Olive Ridley turtle in the Bay of Bengal, white sea otters in Alaska, a white humming bird in the US, white peacocks at the Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai, India, and even a white snake somewhere that I cannot now recall*. In the wooded grounds of the Ramana Maharishi Ashram at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, I have been observing and photographing the white offspring of the resident flocks of peacocks for years. The numbers have grown, in recent times.
*my friend Varma, formerly of Kerala and now resident in Seattle, USA, wrote to me this morning that he recalls being told that white cobras were seen not long ago in his home village in Kerala.
World Peace and Prayer Day
Chief Arvol has noted the spiritual disconnection of humanity. Humanity is at the crossroads. Earth is the source of life, not a resource. Chief Arvol has decided to light the sacred fire and has called for a World Peace and Prayer Day. Read more here.
Om Namah Shivaya Om Sai Ram,
With love and light always,
02.03.2011 – updated 31 May 2015