Wounded Knee Massacre site's owner looking to sell - KOTA Territory News

Wounded Knee Massacre site's owner looking to sell


James Czywczynski and his family have owned the Wounded Knee Massacre site for 40 years.

"We purchased the property in 1968 from Clyde and Agnes Gildersy," said Czywczynski. "They were old and they wanted to retire."

Now he's looking to give the Oglala Sioux Tribe the opportunity to take over the property by purchasing it for $3.9 million.

"The property today is worth in excess of $ 3.9 million but this is the only figure we could come up with to cover our loss at Wounded Knee and still have the Oglala Sioux Tribe acquire this national historic site," said Czywczynski.

At a site where 300 Lakota lives were slaughtered in 1890, Czywczynski says his family had experienced a tragedy of their own at the hands of the American Indian Movement.

"They left they burned everything to the ground, they stole all the artifacts out of the museum, burned our home, personal belonging and left us without anything," he said.

That's why Czywczynski says he's hoping to recoup $3.9 of the $5 million his family lost. But Oglala Sioux Tribe members say his price is too high.

"The non–Indians massacred our people there and you want money for this land?" asked Garfield Steele, the Wounded Knee district representative.

"His price is way too much money," said Paul Little, committee chair for tribal land. "When he called me up the first time he said I would take $2.5 million."

Both Steele and Little say the sacred land should be donated to the tribe by the Czywczynski family.

"I don't think the tribe should purchase the land back I think they should gift it back to us," said Steele. "But if it's something they are requesting to be purchased back than yeah, we have to, we have to get that land back in our possession but at a fair price."

Members of the tribe had the massacre site appraised two weeks ago and are awaiting results. They say if the sacred site is purchased outside of the tribe, members will fight to ensure any type of development does not take place.


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