Acres on Pine Ridge Reservation next to Wounded Knee are now up for sale. What's worse is this sacred massacre site could become home to a horse slaughterhouse.
Exploiting the site’s historic significance, the current owner has given Lakota tribes an ultimatum - either fork out an exorbitant $4 million or the land will open to outside investors, one of which includes a horse slaughterhouse.
Lakota tribes were seeking asylum at Pine Ridge in 1890 when the US Seventh Calvary slaughtered over 150 men, women and children camped at Wounded Knee. Years later survivor descendants and others mounted a protest at Pine Ridge which left three dead.
Not only are these sites sacred to the tribes, but the horse is revered by them as well.
Housing a horse slaughterhouse here should be unthinkable, and some tribe members say compulsory purchase under "eminent domain" should be an option.
Tell the Department of the Interior to make Wounded Knee the site of a National Monument - not a horse slaughterhouse.
We, the undersigned, strongly oppose plans to sell and further desecrate this sacred ground at Pine Ridge next to Wounded Knee.
Writing for the Guardian, Dana Lone Hill points out that the price the white landowner is calling for is outrageous and is exploiting the historic significance as well as the horrific slaughter that occurred at Wounded Knee. Hill points out that if a tribe member were to sell that same amount of land back to the tribe it would be worth only $7,000, and others have estimated a value no higher than 12,000, as the land is not arable.
The entire site, instead, should be a monument to what many see as the holocaust that occurred there.
Though tribe members are split on how the land should be used, they all protest the ultimatum given them by the seller. And while some would allow the use of land by a business as repulsive as a horse slaughterhouse, they are mainly motivated by the need to help alleviate the shameful and severe poverty that the tribes have dealt with for decades.
Our Native Americans should not have to face this kind of predicament. Instead the federal and state governments should step in and create a national monument for Wounded Knee or a Holocaust Museum, as others have suggested - and/or allow the option of purchase under eminent domain.
Hill says that whatever happens, Wounded Knee should be honored in a way that befits the tragedy that occurred there. “We must not forget,” she says, “that women and children were chased down and shot to death in the snow on this land.”
We request that the Federal Government intervene and properly honor those who died at these sites and their historical significance - most certainly ban the building of a horse slaughterhouse at Pine Ridge.
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