GREENVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Two weeks after the death of a rare white buffalo, Native Americans gathered for a pow wow to celebrate what would have been the calf’s first birthday.

“We made it a point that – like he’s still here for his birthday,” said Lakota Ranch owner Arby Little Soldier.

While the crowd danced to the beat of a drum circle, they paid tribute to the animal they viewed as a sacred sign of peace and prosperity.

Hunt County deputies are still trying to determine who slaughtered the rare white buffalo and its mother at the ranch two weeks ago.  Sources say the calf had been butchered and skinned.  “It’s a hate crime, because what we’ve seen was for no human eyes,” said Little Soldier.

Hunting and gun clubs have reportedly offered their assistance, investigating whether any of their members may have been involved.

The Lakota tribe is also collecting donations to increase the reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest.  So far, they estimate they have about $50,000 in the bank.

Since news of the buffalo’s death leaked out, contributions have come in small amounts and large ones.  One anonymous donor offered $5,000.  Another man donated his horse Saturday to help guard the ranch’s remaining herd of buffalo.

In Oregon, Cynthia Hart-Button, president of the Sacred World Peace Alliance, made, perhaps, the most significant contribution – her own 7-year-old white buffalo.

Already reportedly on its way to North Texas, the buffalo, named Chief Hiawatha, was bred to produce a white coat, according to Little Soldier, so it won’t carry the same significance for Native Americans.

539w New White Buffalo Being Given To Hunt County Ranch

Chief Hiawatha, a rare white buffalo being sent to North Texas (Credit: Cynthia Hart-Button/Sacred World Peace Alliance)

Little Soldier, though, believes it will bring some peace to the ranch and it’s visitors.   “Looking out there and still seeing a white buffalo,” he said.