12 Days of Bison Day 1: Best of Bison: America

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is the first in a series of 12 emails featuring some of the amazing things we have seen made from or honoring bison in some way... This year though, instead of it being things we are selling, we thought it would be more in the spirit of the season to shine the spotlight on other artists and producers. We have a pretty amazing lineup coming, some well-known artists and craftsmen, and some debut pieces from people we have just met. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed learning the stories behind the pieces.

Ron & T
The Buffalo Wool Co

Day 1 of 12: Best of Bison: America.

I saw this in a bison Facebook group a couple of weeks ago, and it really spoke to me. The horns are impressive, the sentiment and message clear as a bell. I am truly in love with this skull I messaged Ms. Hannah about featuring it here, and she was amenable, she is unbelievably sweet and while just beginning her bison art, I see amazing things coming in the future.

Bison skull painted with vivid American flag-esque red, white, and blue pattern

In her own words.

"Hey everyone my name is Hannah Bree and I currently reside in Montana. My love for bison started 11 years ago when my parents bought Comstock Premier Lodge in Sargent Nebraska. Immediately the bison were very fascinating to me, but it wasn’t until recently that I had the opportunity to paint my first bison skull. This skull was the result of a fight between two breeder bulls on the ranch, and unfortunately, this bull lost that day. It took me a few weeks to figure out what I wanted to paint on the skull and it seemed fitting to paint something patriotic given our countries current situation. I have a couple more bison skulls on hand that I look forward to painting in the near future. Custom orders are greatly appreciated!"


Please contact her to purchase this or a future project: hannahbree67@gmail.com

A bit of good news.
Faith: White Bison born in the Bitterroot.

The staff at Bitterroot Valley Bison Ranch in Missoula were astonished when they saw what had been born on their land.  Tiny, wet, shivering as it tried to take its first tentative steps, it was a ball of slicked-back fur.  White fur.

Many Native-American tribes regard a white buffalo as sacred, and with only 1 out of 10,000,000 bison born white, it is easy to see why. There were and are so special that their appearance was and is believed to be an omen or portent. In 1833, for instance, Cherokee natives hunted and killed a white buffalo during the Leonid Meteor Shower, a confluence of events judged so sacred that the Cherokee wrote an important treaty on its hide. And the hides can be precious -- Teddy Roosevelt reportedly once offered hunter J. Wright Mooar $5,000 for a white buffalo hide harvested in 1876. The hunter declined the offer, holding on to the rare coat for the rest of his life.

A warning and a blessing

Blair Gopher, member of the Blackfeet and Ojibwe tribes and pipe server at the ceremony, said a white buffalo is symbolic of a message from the Creator, or Great Spirit. "We are thankful to the Creator for sending the calf. It's seen as a warning and a blessing," he said.

Many tribal members who attended the ceremony said the calf is symbolic of widespread unrest.

"I think the reason the Creator sent this calf here is because of all the injustice that's been done," said Glenn Gopher, who conducted the ceremony. "Our country is in serious chaos. We have this virus and we have racial injustice. Our world is corrupt."

But Glenn added that the buffalo is also a blessing, as she symbolizes hope for a better future.

"She shows that we need to love and respect one another. Refrain from hatred and racism. Love and respect are what's missing in this country; our lawmakers are out of hand. We prayed for peace and harmony for all of mankind," he said.

Craig Knowles, a wildlife biologist who's been working with buffalo for 25 years, said the birth of a white buffalo calf is "extremely rare."

"Since people have started breeding bison, in the last 20 years or so, more white calves have been born. The whiteness is a recessive gene, but it's important to know that some of them don't retain their whiteness as adults," he said.

Knowles added that white buffalo can be lucrative for private ranchers, as some people will pay large sums to selectively breed a white bull and white cow.

"They are known in the record books 1 in 10 million chance and I could only find eight documented since 1994," owner Troy Westre said.

They even had her DNA tested and found out she is 100% bison.

--Excerpts from "Distinctly Montana" & "Great Falls Tribune." Photo from FB.

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