A Tatanka Tale
If you’ve been in the store, you’ve likely seen a lot of merchandise: canvas shopping bags, metal beer openers, pint & rocks glasses, hoodies and locally-made Bison Star lotions, all with the image of a buffalo. Why? It’s not like New Mexico is plentiful with buffalo herds running free in the wild. While we have ample room for them to roam, they’re of course native to colder climates like Montana or North and South Dakota. Our nuclear family however, is drawn to their image because the mighty buffalo is our self-designated spirit animal.
South Dakota, in fact, is where Robin is originally from. You may or may not know that we are truly a minority-owned business. I am a woman (obviously) but Robin is a registered member of the Lakota Sioux Tribe. His mother grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and while she chose to raise her nine children in Colorado, she wholeheartedly raised them to honor their heritage.
So, with our beautiful daughter Ellie, we set out to do the same. We’d hardly even had a chance to tell her about her rich and incredible lineage however, when, at two years old, she had a dream. She was an early and accelerated talker, so she described it in great detail and has not only remembered it vividly but has written about the experience throughout the years. Here it is in her own words:
When my vision begins, my two-foot-tall self is standing barefoot on a dirt road. There are beautiful wheat fields surrounding me, the sky is bright blue, the sun burns on my beige skin. Before me are three separate paths: the left, the right, and straight down the middle. Behind me, I hear two colossal animals approaching. My heart races, my breathing becomes erratic, my fingers tremble. I spin around to see two buffalo, one small and white, the other large and brown. I feel hot, moist breath on my face. They have menacing looks, but I’m not afraid.
“Which path will you take?” The larger animal says in a deep, aching voice, his lips never part.
I glance back over my shoulder at the three choices, and the white buffalo calf brushes past my arm. I look up into her eyes. She doesn’t speak, but her hazel irises show wonders. I see myself reflected in them. I latch onto her thick, tangled fur. Together, we step lightly down the center path.
Throughout her life, Ellie’s used this vision to guide her – to conquer fear. And at times, Robin and I have borrowed the notion. Starting this business, was one of the scariest things we’ve ever done. In our previous venture, now some 18 years ago, we had no fear. Alas…this time around we have so much more to lose.
So, when we face those inevitable s-l-o-w days of retail or Amazon’s free shipping-for-the-holidays offer sits on our chests like an anvil… we visualize our mighty buffalo. The spirit that has helped guide and mold and protect our daughter, shares its gentle yet powerful blanket of love with us. We are blessed that Robin’s roots can be traced back to the very first Americans. We are grateful that we found the courage, conviction and means to begin this adventure. We are incredibly honored that you’ve joined us on this journey.