When the buffalo had disappeared and hunger was upon the land, White Buffalo Calf Woman was sent down to the Lakota people.
She appeared to two young Lakota warriors. Her white hide-skin dress glowed; her feet hovered above the ground. One warrior recognized her beauty and power; the other reached out to touch her roughly. He disappeared in a cloud and reappeared as nothing but a pile of bones.
The remaining warrior rushed to his people. They prepared for the coming of White Buffalo Calf Woman by building a special tipi. She arrived carrying sacred herbs and a tightly wrapped bundle. Inside was the most sacred peace pipe. White Buffalo Calf Woman taught the Lakota the peace prayers and the pipe ceremony. Then she bade them follow her.
White Buffalo Calf Woman walked eastward. The Lakota trailed behind her and watched in amazement as the beautiful woman turned back into a white buffalo. She rolled over four times, becoming a red, black, brown, and finally a white buffalo again. Then she disappeared over the horizon.
And just as suddenly a great herd of buffalo appeared.
To Native Americans, the supernatural world has a tremendous impact on the natural world. There is a spirit quality to all things in the natural world. Contact with these spirits, through ceremonies such as the peace pipe ritual or the buffalo dance, is not only desirable, it is essential for the well-being of the community and for a deeper understanding of the world.