Man Gives South Dakota Tribe Ultimatum: Pay Millions for Wounded Knee Site or Lose It

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The man who owns part of the Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark, where hundreds of Native Americans were killed, is attempting to sell it for $4.9 million, though it is only assessed at $14,000.

The land is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

On Dec. 29, 1890, 300 Native Americans were killed by the 7th Cavalry in the last battle of the American Indian Wars.

The owner of the land, James Czywczynski, is attempting to sell his 40-acre part of the landmark and another 40-acre parcel for $4.9 million. He gave the Oglala Sioux Tribe until Wednesday to pay for it, but if they do not come up with the money, he will start selling it to outside investors.

Tribal President Bryan Brewer said the tribe does not have enough money to buy the land, and that they shouldn't even have to purchase it, since it was theirs from the beginning.

"We are hoping no one will buy this land. And I'd like to tell investors that if someone thinks they can go down there and commercialize this, it will never happen. We will not allow it," Brewer said.

Czywczynski told the Associated Press that he had three offers from investment groups interested in buying the land for what he is asking.

"I know we are at the 11th hour, but selling this massacre site and using the victims as a selling pitch is, for the lack of a better word, it's grotesque," Nathan Blindman said. His grandfather was ten years old when he survived the massacre.

"To use the murdered children, the murdered teenagers, the unborn, women screaming and running for their lives, using that as a selling pitch…that has got to be the most barbaric thing ever to use as a selling pitch."

The land Czywczynski is selling is close to the burial grounds and also includes the site of a former trading post that was burned down during the 1973 Wounded Knee uprising. 

Members and descendants of the tribe have even reached out to President Barack Obama to guard it against commercialization and development by making it a National Monument.

Even if an outside investor does buy the land, however, they will have difficulty developing it into anything.

"Whoever buys that is still going to have to deal with the tribe," Craig Dillon, Oglala Sioux Tribal Council member, said. "Access is going to be an issue. Development is going to be an issue. I'm not threatening anybody, but my tone is be aware you have to deal with the tribe if you purchase it."

Sources: Fox News, Oregon Live