Rare white buffalo calf born in Montana’s Yellowstone, tribes reveal its name

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Rare white buffalo calf born in Montana’s Yellowstone, tribes reveal its name

A rare white buffalo reportedly born earlier this month in Yellowstone has officially been named by Native American tribal members.

The calf’s momentous birth turned into a celebration, which led to a gathering of hundreds of people for the reveal of the animal’s name.

The calf has been named Wakan Gli, meaning “Return Sacred” in Lakota, according to the Associated Press (AP).

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The religious naming ceremony consisted of dancing, drumming, singing and the telling of the White Buffalo Calf Woman prophecy.

The birth of the rare white buffalo calf is believed to mean that “better times” are ahead. The message apparently serves as both a blessing and a warning.

“It’s up to each and every one of you to make it happen for the future of our children. We must come together and bring that good energy back,” Chief Arvol Looking Horse said at the ceremony, which took place a few miles west of Yellowstone, in far southern Montana, the AP reported.

An estimated 500 people attended the sacred ceremony at the headquarters of Buffalo Field Campaign – with representatives from the Colville Tribes in Washington, Lakota and Sioux in the Dakotas, Northern Arapaho in Wyoming and Shoshone-Bannock in Idaho also in attendance.

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The calf has only been seen by a few individuals and even fewer have been able to capture a photo of the white-furred animal.

Erin Braaten captured stunning photos of the rare white calf earlier this month while with her family in Yosemite. (Erin Braaten: Dancing Aspens Photography)

One Montana photographer captured photos of the calf while on a family vacation in Yellowstone.

Erin Braaten of Dancing Aspens Photography saw the creature and assumed it was a coyote.

“I lifted my camera. I keep it on my side while we’re through the park just in case something exciting happens…[I] just looked through it, and it was definitely not a coyote but a white bison calf,” Braaten told Fox News Digital.

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“[Capturing this photo] is like one of those things you kind of daydream [about and think], ‘Oh that would be kind of cool to take a picture of,’ but never really expected to get a chance.”

The rare calf has been named Wakan Gli, which means "Return Sacred" in Lakota.

The rare calf has been named Wakan Gli, which means “Return Sacred” in Lakota. (AP Photo/Sam Wilson; Erin Braaten: Dancing Aspens Photography)

The rare animal has not been seen since the beginning of June, but Yellowstone officials regularly survey the field.

“Yellowstone is aware of and [has] been watching the social media posts and media stories about the sightings. We cannot confirm at this time if a white bison calf was born in the park,” a Yellowstone official told Fox News Digital.

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“We do have staff that are regularly in the field and if they identify the calf, we will share that information. We acknowledge the significance of a white bison calf for American Indians.”

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The birth of Wakan Gli is considered to be “a miracle” to the Lakota people and other Native American tribes.

“To the several tribes who revere American bison — they call them ‘buffalo’ — the calf’s appearance was both the fulfillment of sacred prophesy and a message to take better care of the Earth,” the AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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