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…from Dena & Jim Riley

In December 2001, we moved our buffalo from South Dakota to Flagstaff, Arizona. This move could not have been accomplished without our “White Buffalo Angels.”

Our first angel on the scene was A.S. Barry from Jerome, Arizona. From the very first call, Barry was on the buffalo move project. I’m not sure if he got any sleep after we talked the first time. Barry’s timeless effort and love helped make the move from South Dakota to Flagstaff a reality. He was like a butterfly fluttering from one task to another. And he did this all within 45 days. What a GREAT guy!

Barry got the word out and let people know we needed help. Shanti Haydon from Sedona jumped onboard and helped with funds for the trip down from South Dakota. This paid for the transport trailer for the buffalo, gas and food for the white buffalo family and the trailers needed to haul our personal belongings. Thank you, Shanti. We are forever grateful.

Helene Rothschild with Joyful Living in Sedona—a non-profit Peace Organization—took donations from those who sent funds to help pay for the relocation project. Helene has been a great friend and a great supporter of the white buffalo. She has donated her beautiful writings and inspirations that we sell in the gift shop that help feed and care for the buffalo. We love you, Helene.

Jeanie Sevon was Barry’s sidekick. Jeanie made numerous phone contacts, and kept Barry together by organizing the fund raising events. She was a great help every step of the way. Jeanie also made it possible for John Easterling of The Amazon Herb Company to make and provide special herbs to help keep the buffalo calm during the long move from South Dakota to Flagstaff. Jeanie sprinkled the herbs on to the buffalo’s hay while traveling. Upon arriving in Flagstaff twenty-nine hours later, the buffalo were very relaxed and walked calmly out of the trailer—eating and drinking right away. We would like to thank the indigenous people in the Amazon for sharing their rainforest with us and making these great herbs. Thank you Jeanie and John for everything.

Jeanie and Dena happen to share the same birthday. It just so happens that Barry, Jeanie, Dena and Jim are all born under the Leo sign in August. Who would figure!

Barry also arrived in South Dakota with a few angels to help us move. One was Silvia Alina of Cottonwood. She wrote our first article in the “Four Corners Magazine” published by Lane Badger of Sedona.

Gil Aguilara and his brother in-law Raul, drove up from Hurley, New Mexico to help move the buffalo from South Dakota. Gil drove one of the U-haul trucks, and Raul pulled the trailer with all the panels for the temporary fence. Gil being of Apache blood and of high status with the Lakota made it possible for the buffalo to be blessed before the journey.

Before leaving South Dakota, Richard Swallow of the Standing Buffalo Clan and his elder father and mother did a ceremony to ensure a safe trip and to bless the buffalo. This was a very beautiful and memorable ceremony indeed. Thank you, Gil, for giving us a great send off. And lest we forget, there was also a golden eagle waiting at the edge of the Black Hills bidding us farewell.

Walt “Ironpipe” Mitchell drove by himself to South Dakota from Sedona to join in the move. He hauled our trailer with the fuel tanks behind his truck trying his best to keep behind the buffalo trailer. About three hours into the trip, Julie Brinkley of Hot Springs, South Dakota joined the caravan. Julie was a dear friend of the buffaloes that helped us since 1999. She was our buffalo sitter when we needed her. Julie and Walt jockeyed for position behind the buffalo trailer. It kept us amused for a good part of the trip. We will miss you, Julie. Thank you for everything and most of all your friendship.

Bill Paulsen of Custer, South Dakota and his family were the trip’s heroes. Bill led the way to Flagstaff hauling the Sacred White Buffalo. Bill had hauled for us before, and we felt very comfortable with him making the drive to Flagstaff. His family came along and made it into a small vacation. We picked only the best to haul our precious babies! Thank you, Bill, for taking such good care of them on the trip.

The move from South Dakota to Flagstaff, Arizona was a straight-through drive. We had to think about the buffalo—not ourselves. Buffalo rest during the night but are restless during the daylight hours so we felt that by driving straight through we would reduce their stress.

There was road construction in Albuquerque, and with nine vehicles we needed to ensure we made it through town before we could curl up in our front seats to take a break and get a little rest. We arrived on the outskirts of town around 4:00 AM and slept till 6:00 AM. Then we were off again.

Arrival In Arizona
Dec 18, 2001, 2:22 PM

Reporters and cameramen from Flagstaff and Phoenix news stations greeted us when we arrived outside Flagstaff. Drums were beating with joy. Singing was heard throughout the hills, and many people from all races were there to greet the buffalo.

Not having a corral for the buffalo meant we had to build one. There was snow on the ground, and it was cold, but the sun was shining brightly. Everyone started to help us put together the fence. It didn’t take long before we were ready to open the trailer and let the buffalo step out onto their new home soil.

Willy Wonka, the herd bull, stepped out first and looked around as if to say hello to everyone. He then proceeded to eat some hay and head for the water tank for his first drink. The rest of the herd—Miracle Moon, Rainbow Spirit, Peace Pilgrim, Big Momma and Sweetie—came out of the trailer just as calm as Willy. I believe they knew they were home.

Rick Richards from ABC Flagstaff Water Company donated water tanks. It was an immense help to have the water already there. Rick also filled the holding tanks on the property—a total of 6,000 gallons. Thank you, Rick, for being there for us. We truly appreciate it.

Inside the building, a wood stove was burning to keep us warm and a pot of beans was waiting to fill our tummies and keep our insides warm. People had donated food and refreshments for the welcome home celebration. You could feel the energy of the people—happy that the white buffalo had finally come home to Arizona.

Mona Hedin and her husband were there with her eight-foot painting of “The Promise.” Mona was spiritually directed to paint this image, which included the image of a white buffalo. Mona graciously donated some prints of “The Promise” to the gift shop. Bless you, Mona, for being the great artist you are and giving in order to help the buffalo. Those who give will then receive.

Asher Lyons from California was there the first day we arrived. He talked to people while Jim and I worked getting things in livable order. He collected donations and told the visitors about the buffalo. Asher loves to cook and kept us in stitches imitating his father. Asher is studying to be an actor. He was on his life’s journey and was headed to the Grand Canyon when he discovered that the white buffalo were relocating to Flagstaff. He stayed with us for a couple months. We couldn’t have done it without you, Asher. May you walk in beauty forever. You are the GREATEST.

Dr. Arwyn E. Larkin (Dreamwalker) and her partner Tree have been a Godsend to us. They were there the day we arrived. They came by a week afterwards because a storm was coming, and they knew we were without water and electricity, and the only thing we had for heat was a wood stove. Arwyn and Tree brought wool ceremony blankets to keep us warm, candles for light, and food. True angels, they have become part of our family. They are truly concerned about the buffalo and our well being. They have brought many from all over the world to see the buffalo, have heard our cries for help, and have been there for us every time. They and their friends helped us make it through the first winter. They also introduced us to our beautiful angel from Germany, Regina Schulz. Regina made it possible for us to get fencing and a generator. The European community has been there for us helping with funds during the hardest times. Special thanks to all these people as well as the Morning Star Lodge which graciously sent funds to help us get through our first winter. Thank you so much Arwyn. You have been a Godsend.

God Bless you all. You are beautiful people. You certainly could teach the world a few things when it comes to helping one another and coming together as one.

We had the pleasure of hosting Peter Maier of Munich and Petra Springer of Humburg, Germany during our first few months in Arizona. They stayed for two and a half months to help us put up fencing and get the shop open for business. Petra helped with the lettering for the signs on the ranch. Being bilingual was very helpful with the tourist. Peter and Petra both loved all the animals and fit in well. They turned out to be excellent tour guides. All they asked for in return was friendship. They jumped in with all fours and did whatever was needed. Peter learned to drive his first tractor and to be a buffalo rancher. After touring the states for fourteen months they returned to Germany. We never had the pleasure of being with such kind and loving people. They are now back in Germany telling the people about the World Peace White Buffalo and their significance. Peter and Petra, we will always miss and love you. Come back soon!

The first year started out with a bang. When we arrived in Arizona we found ourselves up against the County’s Planning and Zoning Board of Directors. We lost our first hearing but we came back and appealed to the board of supervisors.

It is with great appreciation that we thank our neighbor and attorney, John G. Gliege, who fought so hard to help us stay here. Many supporters came forward on our behalf. We thank all of you for being there for us. We won the vote with the supervisors hands down. YES! YES! YES!

This was a start to a very big project we had in front of us. With all your help we were able to get quite a bit accomplished. Boyer Metal of Flagstaff installed two heating units—one for our living quarters and one for the gift shop. This had to be done before we could obtain insurance and close escrow. This also allowed us to keep the visitors warm during the winter season. I must say it was worth the three-month wait with only the wood stove to keep us warm and to cook on. Thank you, Jim, for being so patient with us.

It took quite a while to get the firewall completed, which was required by the planning and zoning commission. We finally finished it in November. This needed to be done because we had living quarters in the same building as the gift shop.

Bob Corrigan with Empire Builders helped us with permits for the signs, wheel chair requirements and other building code requirements. Thank you, Bob. You came through when we needed you the most.
Ed and Rose Celestine of Flagstaff are our dearest and sweetest friends. They found out about the buffalo from Emily Begay—Ed’s coworker. Emily and her family who are from Many Farms, Arizona were our very first visitors in Wyoming in July 1999. They had a pipe that they wanted blessed by Miracle Moon. We first met Ed and Rose in September 1999 when they came to visit us in Wyoming. This visit started a very precious friendship. When we moved to Arizona, Ed and Rose gave us a key to their place. They knew we had no hot water so they allowed us to take showers and wash our clothes in their beautiful home.

New Year’s was very special. There were many visitors here to help us bring in 2002. Only arriving two months earlier, we were still in chaos so people showed up with food, drinks and utensils. It was a wonderful New Year’s celebration.

Spring arrived, and we had a very big surprise when we received a call from John Goheen from Denver, Colorado just days before the Easter weekend. John and his teenage daughter were on their way to Northern Arizona University. John was coming to show the Navajo girl’s track team the documentary that featured them. John produces documentaries for “National Geographic Today.”

It just so happened it was a beautiful and sunny day in which to do a piece on the white buffalo’s life. We truly appreciate John’s concern that we did not have TV service in order to watch the documentary. He was kind enough to send us a video to share with visitors. John plans to do an update now that Arizona Spirit has been born. John you did a fantastic job. Keep up the good work, and you can visit us anytime.

March 2002 we had a very special couple come visit the buffalo—Francis and Eva Billy. Their main home is in Tuba City, Arizona. Their part-time home is in the Village of Grand Canyon where they both work. They heard about the buffalo’s arrival by reading the article in the Arizona Daily Sun. Being of Navajo blood, Francis and Billy were curious.

When Francis and Eva first visited us, Francis let me know if we ever needed electrical work to let him know. This happens to be his trade. Well after a few weeks, we realized the wiring in the building was completely CRAZY and a bad accident was just waiting to happen. I called Francis for help. He and Eva were great. They came between their jobs, volunteered their time and worked countless hours to help us get the place ready. At times, they spent the weekend with us. They put up lights and fans in the gift shop and helped us ready the place for inspection.

Francis is a traditional dancer and we look forward to helping with the regalia he will wear while performing. His attire will represent the white buffalo. Francis and Eva, thank you both for coming into our lives. You have taught us many things. We love you both very much.

In August we got a “son-in-law.” Black Jack is a three-year-old Canadian Bison bull. We purchased him from Bill and Lee Ann Bolinger at the Ranch Art Ranch in Freona, Texas. This was the same place we got Willy Wonka, but he and Black Jack are not related. Black Jack was purchased to breed with the two offspring females of Willy Wonka and Miracle Moon. We would like to acquire more land for the buffalo so they have more freedom to roam like they did in South Dakota and Wyoming. We appreciate your prayers in helping this happen.

In September 2002 we had a family of three come see the buffalo—a mother and her twin boy and girl. They had just moved to Flagstaff a couple weeks prior from Maryland. Gailyn is a massage therapist and specializes in neuromuscular massage. She called us after visiting the first time to offer her services. Jim shared with her that he was born with a muscle disorder, and she was drawn to work on him. Jim’s muscles work 24/7 without ever stopping.

I must say Gailyn never gave up offering us complimentary massages, and her persistence finally paid off. Once Gailyn started working on Jim’s muscles, she was able to release muscles that had never been relaxed his entire life. She is now working at the athletic club in Flagstaff. Every Sunday, she brings her fourteen-year-old twins, Devin and Dillon, to volunteer on the ranch. They passed their first test scooping poop out of the pens for the miniature horses and the goats. Devin is more outgoing than Dillon and takes the people out to see the buffalo. Dillon has learned to drive the tractor and drags the pasture when he can. Looks like they found a new family in Flagstaff. Gailyn, Devin, and Dillon we’re glad you came into our lives. Keep up the good work.

Mark Peebler from It’s All Good worked with Barry after we arrived in Flagstaff and donated his time to put together this website. Thank you Mark and Barry for doing a great job. Barry was gracious enough to answer the e-mails that were sent the last year. We are now CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET at the ranch. Hip, hip, hooray!!! Thank you, Mark!

Thanks also to the Sedona, Flagstaff, Williams/Grand Canyon Chambers of Commerce. We appreciate all your help and support.

We have had people from every continent on the globe come visit these sacred and special beings.

Now last—but not least—we can give a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the people that have come to see our special babies. Without you we wouldn’t have made it. If I did not mention you in this piece please know you are not forgotten. It is important to us that we keep balance and harmony with all that cross our paths.

White Buffalo represent WORLD PEACE.

Sincerely,
Jim and Dena Riley

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