Many moons ago in a classroom in Scotland, I learned how Native American showed great respect for the land and the animals who shared it with their tribes. I was reminded of this today when I read that North America’s oldest white bison, Yvnvssv Hetke, had died.
Yvnvssv Hetke—Muscogee for bison—was about 30 years old. He enjoyed his life on the Perryman Ranch in Tulsa Oklahoma for 20 years along with the ranch’s longhorn cattle that descended from the original herd driven from Alabama around 1830.
“He was found deep in the thicket at the west end of Perryman Ranch, near Coal Creek, the morning after the October full moon. The veterinarian who was called in said he died of natural causes, apparently from old age. In the wild, bison (American buffalo) live to be about 25 years old.”
Known to eat almost anything he could reach, Yvnvssv Hetke’s favorite treats were apples, pears, and oranges, which he ate whole. He was steered before going to live at the ranch, but was known to keep company with his choice of “girlfriends” from the longhorn herd.
Yvnvssv Hetke “left” the Ranch a couple of times, once dragging 1/8 mile of barbed wire fence and another time leading the herd west through the residential neighborhood toward US-75.
The announcement of his death was delayed to prevent theft, but several Native elders visited the site following his burial to pay their respects.
To read the entire article and see photos of Yvnvssv Hetke, click on Native American Times.