White-Buffalo-Woman existed in the spirit world of the animal power beings. From this mystical realm, she witnessed the planet Earth suffering under the polluted corruption of the Fourth World age. Recognizing the Earth's need for her guidance, she took on human form and manifested herself on Earth as a Native American woman known as Brown Mary.
In the mid 1960s, Brown Mary met a Polish musician named Fred Kominsky in California. She introduced him to the ways of the spiritual Ghostdance and re-christened him as Snake. Snake and Brown Mary became the backbone of a rock and roll band named Fifth World Raga. Through the beating of her tom drum, Mary inspired an entire counterculture of naturalist primitivism. The power of the band’s music began to slowly affect planetary change, ushering in a new dawn of enlightenment commonly referred to as the Fifth World. By 1968, the hippie movement had dominated most of the western United States, notably California.
In reaction to this, a centuries-old secret society known as the Mammonites sought to suppress the Ghostdance movement. They enlisted the aid of an agent named Cody to infiltrate the hippie culture and destroy it from within. Cody introduced himself to Snake and Brown Mary, and insinuated himself into their lives as the Fifth World Raga's band manager.
By 1973, Agent Cody was ready to destabilize the Ghostdance movement. He arranged for Brown Mary and Snake to meet him at a small commune in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He told them that an activist group was establishing a movement there to propagate Native American values, and he felt that they would be interested. When Brown Mary and Snake arrived however, Cody surreptitiously had the trunk of Snake's Thunderbird filled with illegal automatic weapons. He then contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and arranged for them to stage a raid on the commune. The raid evolved into a massive firefight and the site erupted into chaos. During the melee, Cody abducted Brown Mary while Snake ran for the hills. Federal agents gunned down everyone else in attendance and set the place to flame. Snake spent the next two decades believing that Brown Mary was dead.
In fact, Cody brought her to his home in Laurel Canyon. Recognizing that Mary was the spiritual guide for the Ghostdance phenomenon, he destroyed her spirit by having her addicted to cocaine. Brown Mary lost all sense of identity and her connection to the spirit world was severed. Cody soon learned however, that Mary had conceived a child (the father of whom remains unknown) during her time with Fifth World Raga. After giving birth, Cody took the infant away from her and delivered him to his Mammanite superiors. The Mammonites named the child, Christopher, and raised him in seclusion at Fort Edgar.
For the next twenty years, Brown Mary lived as Cody's property – to do with as he pleased. He routinely abused her, keeping her brain addled with a constant supply of drugs. He degraded her with mocking nicknames such as Squaw and Hemp-Cow. He regularly kept contact with the Mammonites and updated them on Mary's condition.
In 1995, a power being named Coyote-Old-Man manifested himself on Earth. He traveled to California searching for the missing White-Buffalo-Woman. He first discovered her son, Christopher, and aided him in escaping from the clutches of the Mammonites. Together, they found White-Buffalo-Woman and broke her free of Cody's Mulholland Drive estate. Coyote-Old-Man used his magic to help White-Buffalo-Woman regain her true memories. As her spirit was restored, she abandoned her Brown Mary identity altogether and assumed her true form.
The age of the Fifth World finally arrived and the totem spirit of the Thunderbird appeared in the sky above California. White-Buffalo-Woman led the charge against those who would suppress the Earth's native instincts. Thousands of animal spirits merged within the forms of their Earthly counterparts and the entire Western coastline fell beneath their attack. White-Buffalo-Woman found Agent Cody in the middle of a desert plane. She leapt upon him, crushing him to death beneath her cloven feet.
As the era of the Fourth World came to a close, White-Buffalo-Woman returned to the spirit world to continue guiding humanity in the aftermath of the new Fifth World age.
- Spiritual Connection: As an animal-totem, she possessed the ability to perceive alternate dimensions both in the physical and spiritual planes of existence.
- Animal Empathy: She likewise shared an intimate connection with all matters relating to nature – most notably the American buffalo. She could communicate with the creatures of the Earth and inspire others towards acts of creativity.
- Metamorphosis: Like all power beings, White-Buffalo-Woman had the ability to take human form. Her strength and vitality in human form directly correlated to her internal spiritual strength.
- Medicine: White-Buffalo-Woman was talented in the ways of holistic medicine and spiritual healing.
- Music: White-Buffalo-Woman was proficient in musical performance, specializing in percussion instruments.
- Power Loss: If her spirit were ever broken, she would then lose her immortality and become subject to the same physical limitations that affect normal human beings. She would likewise lose all connection to the spirit world and would be denied access to the bevy of powers she would normally wield.
- Ford Thunderbird: White-Buffalo-Woman had access to a red 1965 Ford Thunderbird previously owned by Fred Kominsky, but never actually drove it.
- The character of White-Buffalo-Woman is germane to the continuity of the Ghostdancing limited series published under DC's Vertigo imprint. To date, she does not have a mainstream New Earth counterpart.
- White-Buffalo-Woman's human form was that of a female Native American of the Hopi tribe.
- The character of White-Buffalo-Woman was inspired by a buffalo-shaped cloud that writer Jamie Delano witnessed while conceptualizing the Ghostdancing limited series. The cloud preceded a series of rhythmic thunderclaps - a sound akin to the beating of hooves. Jamie used this imagery as a reflection of the Fifth World emergence taking place throughout the course of this story.
- The Pine Ridge raid as described in White-Buffalo-Woman’s history was partially inspired by the Ruby Ridge massacre of August, 1992.
- A white buffalo known as Miracle was born on the Heider farm in Janesville, Wisconsin on August 20th 1994, shortly before publication of the Ghostdancing limited series. Miracle was known as the first white buffalo born in the United States since 1933.
- Members of the Lakota Sioux tribes consider the white buffalo to be a sacred animal.
- Fifth World
- Fifth World Raga
- Fourth World
- Ghostdancing (drug)
- Snake (Fred Kominsky)
- 5 Appearances of White-Buffalo-Woman (Ghostdancing)
- 1 Images featuring White-Buffalo-Woman (Ghostdancing)
- 1 Quotations by or about White-Buffalo-Woman (Ghostdancing)
- Character Gallery: White-Buffalo-Woman (Ghostdancing)
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This character exists under the Vertigo Imprint which is intended for Mature Readers. Vertigo titles although they may cross over into regular DC continuity.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Vertigo Characters."