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False (sadly): Buffalo Did Not Stampede DAPL Protest At Standing Rock On Their Own

False (sadly): Buffalo did not stampede DAPL protest at Standing Rock on their own

Nothing would make me happier than to report that the viral story circulating about the buffalo showing up on their own to support the water protectors at Standing Rock was true—especially since what I teach is that animals have opinions about what we are doing in this world, want to be heard, and are patiently waiting for us to listen.

Sadly, it is NOT true. With scattered reports coming out of Standing Rock it is difficult to sort truth from fiction (or manipulated truth). The well-intentioned story of the “thousands” of buffalo who appeared as a stampede to support the protesters is one that I have spent the morning researching.

My search for information started with someone I know well sharing this post with me on Facebook:

“At the height of the conflict today, a woman yelled, “Look at the buffalo!” We all turned to the east to see a herd of buffalo charging. Behind them were young warriors on horseback. Police in ATV’s charged after them. There were shots fired. The young men rode through the line of ATV’s and made their getaway. A war cry went up from the crowd. I’m proud to say we are still the greatest light cavalry in the world!”—Elder Jon Eagle Sr., SRST

While buffalo are sacred to many of the native tribes, and their appearance put heart into the protestors, it seems that the buffalo did not appear on their own to support them (that would be a wonderful sign that I would gladly share).

Here is what I discovered from the most reputable source I could find, Camp of the Sacred Stones:

“Members of the horse nation herded around 100 buffalo from the west and southwest of the Cannonball Ranch onto the the DAPL easement. One rider was reportedly hit with up to four rubber bullets his horse was reported to be hit in the legs by live rounds. Another horse was shot and did not survive.”

I support the water protectors in standing for #NoDAPL.

I support the peaceful protests of the water protectors.

However, I am not in favor of spreading stories that aren’t true, no matter how much we want them to be. In fairness I believe that the false story being shared through social media is the result of a misunderstanding rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead.

I am also not in favor of using wildlife to make political or spiritual points and potentially putting them in harm’s way.

The animals definitely want to help us restore balance to our relationship with them, the land and the water, as well as among ourselves. If the animals choose to get involved in the conflict on behalf of the people that is their decision, which I support. To the best of my ability to discover, that is not what happened this time, and I want to set the record straight on their behalf.

Prayers, blessings, Reiki on behalf of the people and animals at Standing Rock are needed for the highest and best good, and for wherever there is conflict over protecting the land and the water that sustains us all.

UPDATE morning 10/29/16: It is still difficult to say whether the buffalo showed up on their own, and I am not sure that we ever shall. The power of the story to inspire is perhaps more valuable than knowing. However, this video (sorry, could only find on Facebook) shows that the buffalo were chased by the Morton County police on ATVs and even a plane, trying to scare them away. Prayers for all our relatives at Standing Rock.

UPDATE evening 10/29/16: From The Huffington Post: “Some outlets have characterized the bison as coming out of ‘nowhere.’ But journalist Ryan Redhawk, who runs the Facebook page Standing Rock Rising, told The Huffington Post that witnesses said the animals were previously fenced in and people involved in the protest efforts let them out. Sacheen Seitcham of the Westcoast Women Warrior Society told HuffPost that someone appeared to be herding them, but she didn’t know who.”

UPDATE 11/14/16: Many people are coming to this post for information on wild buffalo who were supposedly fenced in and starving around the DAPL site. According to update at end of this article the buffalo were privately owned and sadly are destined for slaughter.


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©2016 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved.


An early pioneer in the field of complementary healing for people and animals, Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, blends animal communication and Reiki and shamanic energy healing in a unique way.

Inspired by a shamanic vision where wild and domestic animals are calling for action to save the Earth and assistance in co-creating a better future for all, her classes, events, ceremonies and products are created with the intention of helping people heal themselves and live in harmony and connection with All Our Relations.

Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.

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This Post Has 20 Comments
  1. I hear what you’re saying. But I don’t think the buffalo can even comprehend the concept of something so unnatural and foreign as a pipeline It’s a lot to ask of them to voluntarily show up and protest. They, too, will suffer for generations from this project; I think it’s a brilliant idea to enlist their aid in the protest, even though they can’t understand what’s at stake.

  2. i am sure that if the buffalo’s could give their opinions they certainly would be on the side of the tribes by millions!!!
    I am so sorry for the people of this land and for all of us who care for the earth and wild life that the power of money and greed always distroy the richness of nature which is the sacred environnement and only real treasure of humanity and of all sentient beings.

  3. “I support the water protectors in standing for #NoDAPL.
    I support the peaceful protests of the water protectors.
    However, I am not in favor of spreading stories that aren’t true”

    …and that, folks, is what integrity look like.

  4. Believe what you want….I see it as a reminder this event has to stay peaceful on the water protectors side. It doesn’t matter how the Buffalo got there. They were there and that’s all that matters. Your gonna tell me too that when an eagle honor song is sung. ..having an eagle fly above is a coincidence too….I’m glad my heart is connected with Tunkasila.

  5. It doesn’t matter if they were herded or not. At that very moment the hope on that young mans face and the cheers of joy from the protectors is something that I will never forget!
    Do not think for one minute that Creator will not use a situation to bring inspiration and hope to those who need it so very badly in His time, the right time!

  6. Press always exaggerate I believe it was a simple case that the buffalo appeared. They did not stampede of the spiritual significance of them being there on the Indian nation. Would have been great

  7. There are conflicting reports but, I watched a video of the buffalo stampede and although, not thousands, there were a group of buffalo and I did not see anything chasing behind them in the video I saw. Spirit is definitely with the people – I feel it. There is something truly amazing happening right now. The people are coming together. This gave many protectors hope. In the absence of certainty, one way or another, I choose magic and faith – unlike the ‘truth’ – these have never failed me. <3

  8. Of course, we all want it to be true. But how likely is that any herd of Buffalo should run – towards- a bunch of human activity? I don’t actually know for sure, but it seems unlikely.

  9. It matters not if they came of their own accord or if they were herded, their appearance gave the protectors, and those supporting them from afar a feeling of strength and hope.

  10. You can’t believe the buffalo appeared? What planet are you from? You probably have financial interest. Believe this, YOUR GOVERNMENT IS CORRUPT. THAT’S REAL.

  11. It doesn’t matter a whit whether they were herded or showed up on their own. They have served their purpose in bringing to national attention our disgrace in meeting some of our own few remaining Native American citizens in 2016 in riot gear, a tradition we have held dear since we handed their forefathers blankets exposed to the small pox virus, and for certain we have cheated them as long, and shot at them and their horses as well. And yet we will tell our small children a myth about our Christian charity and spirt of Thanksgiving and community as we break bread together and this still goes in. I am deeply ashamed and appalled. An honorable people would admit when they were wrong. We do not have this tradition. We build our mountains on the backs of others. Awful.

  12. One of the early videos showed pickup trucks and men on horses herding the buffalo. I can’t find it now BUT I saw it. It’s wonderful that the buffalo were there but the situation was manipulated. The golden eagle obviously had a handler. There was no mystery or magic involved.

    However, I completely them.

    1. I completely agree with the protestors. We need to respect the true Americans and our water and land. Greed is killing our world.

      It’s sad to me that these two situations were manipulated. It is a loss of integrity and the protestors need all of the integrity they can get.

  13. but the Buffalo but the Buffalo did get everybody’s attention the protectors got to stand there for a few more seconds as I saw on the film without being harmed as the Buffalo came over there had been something there

  14. I believe the Buffalo came like they did because of the Sound Canons they used against the Protectors. If the buffalo reabsorb their fetuses, they are who is to blame.

  15. Regardless of whether or not they are wild or domestic bison or if they sauntered over of their own accord or were herded up and delivered…. they represent a powerful symbol for the native people of the Dakotas and many other states, so seeing them there must have been heartening, encouraging and powerful.

  16. It doesn’t matter how tatanka oyate arrived, just that they did. Things happen for a reason. This pipeline is wrong, treaties need to be observed.

  17. What about the recent story about a golden eagle? I suspect that one is apocryphal also. Any knowledge of that one?

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