25 September 2004

Miracle is Gone...

Miracle has moved down the Holy Road...


Miracle, a Symbol of Peace, Passes Away

By Catherine W. Idzerda/Gazette Staff
Janesville Gazette,Janesville Wisconsin

Miracle is gone.

Miracle the buffalo, the symbol of peace, died at
11:07 p.m. Sunday on the Dave and Valerie Heider farm
in Janesville.

"She became sick on Friday," Dave Heider said. "She
was off her feed and became lethargic."

The vet was with Miracle for much of last weekend but
couldn't save her.

"We don't believe she was suffering," Heider said
Friday afternoon. "It looked like she was resting

The vet and Valerie Heider were with Miracle when she

It's not known why Miracle died, and the Heiders
thought it would be inappropriate to do an autopsy.

"I really don't know what happened; she's always been
small," Dave Heider said.

Miracle was buried in an unmarked grave. The Heiders
may plan a memorial service at a later date and
haven't decided on a grave marker.

Miracle was born on Aug. 20, 1994. She was the first
all-white buffalo born since 1933.

A white buffalo is a sacred figure to some American
Indians. According to a Lakota Sioux legend, the
return of the female white buffalo calf heralded an
era of peace and understanding among the people of the

Her appearance caused an influx of visitors from all
over the world to the 45-acre farm at 2739 S. River

People tramped up and down the farm lane at all hours
of the night. The phone rang constantly. The Heiders
had to set aside part of their land for parking.

The attention was exhausting.

In an 1999 interview, Heider talked about the days
after Miracle's birth: "We figured after three months
it would all dry up and go away. Now, we know better.
Sometimes, I regret it."

But his attitude changed, and he came to feel blessed
by Miracle's presence.

"We met people from all over the world," Heider said.
"We had opportunities that we never would have had

The Heiders have played host to 300 tribes from all
over the world including the Masai of Africa, the
Aztecs of Mexico and aborigines from Australia. The
Sioux, the Cree and the Ho Chunk are just a few of the
tribes that have been to their home.

Over the years, Miracle turned black, red and yellow.
Part of the legend said that the white buffalo would
turn different colors to reflect all human races.

Miracle had three calves, Millennium, Lady Miracle,
Mitakuye Oyasin-which means "We Are All Related in the
Sacred Hoop of Life" in the Nakota Sioux language.

In August, about 300 people visited the Heider farm
for her 10th birthday. Many visitors said Miracle
represented hope in time of war.

"The legend doesn't say anything about Miracle dying,"
Heider said. "Buffalos can live to be 25 to 30 years

Heider delayed releasing the news for the better part
of a week because he and his wife had to go on a
business trip and they were still adjusting to their
own shock and sadness.

"I really don't know how you can love an animal that
much that you couldn't touch. She wasn't tame, you
know, she was basically a wild animal," Heider said.
"It's hard to put into words; I don't know how to
explain it. It's like losing a close friend or


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