White Cloud was an extremely rare female albino bison born on July 10, 1996, at the Shirek Buffalo Ranch near Michigan, North Dakota. White Cloud lived with the bison herd on the plains around the museum for around 19 years. In that time she had 11 bison calves, including a white bison named Dakota Miracle.
Her first calf, named Princess Winona (“First-born daughter” in the Lakota language), was born in 2000. She calved again in 2003, the day after Mother’s Day. This time she had a male calf which was named Dakota Thunder. She had two more female brown calves in 2005 and 2006. On Aug 31, 2007 she had a white calf which is named, Dakota Miracle.
White Cloud and her calves had been a big attraction for the museum not only because of the rarity of an albino buffalo but also because of the sacredness that some Native Americans place on a white buffalo.
On May 31, 2008 The National Buffalo Museum became truly “Legendary” when one of the herd’s brown buffalo had a white calf which was later named Dakota Legend.
White Cloud returned to Shirek Buffalo Ranch on May 21, 2016. A bison can live in captivity on average 20 to 25 years. Because of White Cloud’s albinism, her life expectancy was unknown. Summer months were very hard on her. As an albino, she could not regulate her body temperature as well in the heat.
On November 14th, 2016, White Cloud passed away from old age at Shirek Buffalo Ranch. White Cloud was beloved by local residents as well as the state of North Dakota. She will be greatly missed.