GREENVILLE - The rain had been falling for hours, but people were still coming to Lakota Ranch to memorialize the death of Lightning Medicine Cloud, the sacred white buffalo killed two weeks ago. Many have come with Justice on their minds.
The event was planned as a first birthday party. Instead of canceling, ranch owner Arby Little Soldier worked all week to transform it into a memorial.
"The young warriors are looking at me to see if I'm going to fold or [if] we can," Little Soldier said. "And this is when I'm going to go stronger."
The Hunt County Sheriff is investigating the killing of the white buffalo and his mother. The sheriff said they're making progress, but there's nothing new to report.
Because the animal was a sacred sign of unity to Native Americans, Little Soldier wants the killings classified as hate crimes.
"I'd like to see it get there," he said. "Right now it's right at a felony, and hopefully we take the next up and go further."
The reward to catch the killer is also going further.
Little Soldier started with a $5,000 reward, but contributions from the public pushed that number over $50,000.
Little Soldier recognizes that the white buffalo's message of unity has gone further in death than in life.
"I don't like to compare this to the Bible but, you know, the Lord was trying to say things to us at one point and people missed the message until he was killed. And that's when the message got out there," he said.
The Lightning Medicine Cloud Annual Greenville Scholarship Native American Powwow is scheduled to continue as planned through the weekend, including a Sunday spiritual service all are welcome to attend at 10 a.m.