On Dec. 29, 1890, 300 Native American men, women and children were killed by the 7th Cavalry in the final battle of the American Indian Wars. This was the Battle of Wounded Knee. James Czywczynski, whose family has owned the property since 1968, is trying to sell the 40-acre fraction of the historic landmark and another 40-acre parcel for $4.9 million. The assessed value of the property: less than $14,000. He has given the Oglala Sioux Tribe until Wednesday to agree to the price, after which he will open it up to outside investors.
The ultimatum has caused anger among many tribal members and descendants of the massacre victims. "(S)elling this massacre site and using the victims as a selling is ... grotesque," said Nathan Blindman, 56, whose grandfather was 10 when he survived the massacre. "To use the murdered children, the murdered teenagers, the unborn, women screaming and running for their lives ... as a selling pitch ... that has got to be the most barbaric thing ever".
Joseph Brings Plenty, a former chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a traditional chief, said the tribes are not in a position to pay millions of dollars for the land. Although not opposed to development to preserve, beautify or better educate the public about the land and its history, tribal members are opposed to commercialization. "You don't go and dance on grandma and grandpa's grave to turn a hefty dollar sign," he said.
Tribal members and descendants have reached out to President Barack Obama to make the site a National Monument, which would better guard it against development and commercialization, Chief Brings Plenty said. LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!
Tribal members say the man who owns a piece of the Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is trying to profit from their suffering. Please help make this historic landmark a National Monument so we can all say: Never. Ever. Again.
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