February 19, 2013

White buffalo at Fuel City

Native Americans object to use of white buffalo at Dallas gas station

By David SchechterThe Fuel City gas station gained attention this weekend for using a white buffalo to promote its business. Now it is facing criticism from Native Americans who say using the animal for commercial purposes is sacrilegious.

"He's exploiting this. He's exploiting our culture,” said Yolanda Blue Horse, a Native American activist.

To some Native Americans, the birth of a white buffalo symbolizes how their sacred ceremonies and prayers were handed down to them.

When Blue Horse and others in the local Native American community heard about this white buffalo, they felt Fuel City, a downtown Dallas landmark on Riverfront Boulevard, had gone too far.

Blue Horse called the owner to explain the problem about the animal named Lone Star.

"Our religion, really, ultimately is not to be used as a circus. It's not to be used as a sideshow and 'ooh, come look at what I got,' which is what his words were," she said.
Comment:  I'd say this depends on how Fuel City is using the white buffalo. If they gave it a Native name, said it was a Native symbol, encouraged people to pray to it for good luck, I'd say they were exploiting Native culture. But simply owning and displaying a white buffalo doesn't seem sacrilegious. I don't think Natives have any right to control or monopolize the use of white buffaloes in non-Native circumstances.

For more on white buffalo, see White Buffalo Died of Disease and White Buffalo the Play.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Surprisingly, someone heeded a Native protest without a fuss. Too bad this doesn't happen more often.


After pressure from Native Americans, Fuel City’s pregnant white buffalo will move to new home

“I brought this buffalo to Dallas for people to enjoy,” Fuel City owner John Benda said. “I was not trying to profit from the animal.

“Everything was fine. The buffalo was really happy there and has a nice disposition. I didn’t want it to become negative, but I felt like the situation couldn’t be rescued.”