Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Native Canadian Indian Art Becomes Real

The Royal Canadian Mint had previously issued a $200 gold coin with a Native Canadian Indian art design of a white buffalo by Native artist Alex Janvier. This image has just turned into reality when the first white bufflo calf was born on a ranch near Ft. St. John in northwestern Canada. According to Native American and Canadian people, a white bison is a harbinger of peace and unity. The birth of a white buffalo calf in Wisconsin had attracted 500,000 people. "This is the first white calf that was born in Canada. I know there were a few in the States, but not a lot," said rancher Karen Blatz. "A white buffalo is sacred to native American people. They see it as a symbol of hope and peace, rebirth and unity. Also, he was born north of the Peace River, so we thought Peace would be a good name," Blatz said. The calf was born prematurely nearly a month ago, weighing only nine kilograms (just under 20 pounds). This is half the usual weight for a newborn calf and it had to be taken away from its mother to be bottle-fed. Blatz kept the birth secret to ensure the calf would survive before its arrival was announced. According to the US-based National Bison Association, white calves are born once every three to five years. Not surprisingly, this white buffalo calf will not be turned into bison burgers. "He is such a rare animal. I would like to see him get out where he'll get more exposure, because we're quite isolated here in the north," Blatz added.

To see Alex Janvier's design of the white buffalo as well as other Native Canadian Indian art designs used on Canadian coins, see the Native Coins article.

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