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Folktales

White Buffalo Calf Woman

by Micha F. Lindemans

This Lakota myth tells of two men who were on a hunting trip when they noticed a beautiful young woman walking towards them. She was dressed in white buckskin and carried a bundle on her back. One of the men had bad thought about her, but the moment he approached her, he was suddenly surrounded by a white mist. When the mist dispersed, nothing of the man remained but a skeleton.

The woman turned to the other man and she told him to go home and prepare a big lodge for her. The man ran home and did exactly what she had told him to do. When the woman walked into his village, he had already completed his task. She then told the people of the village that she came from Heaven and was here on earth to teach them how to live and what their future would be. She gave the people maize, taught them the use of the pipe, and taught them the seven sacred ceremonies. Furthermore, she gave them colors for the four winds or directions. When she was finished she turned into a white buffalo calf, then turned the color black, then red, then last she turned yellow, representing the colors of the four directions. Then she disappeared.


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