In the market for 40-acres of prairie in South Dakota? You're in luck: James Czywczynski is looking to sell you some for the low cost of $3.9 million. Of course, the land is also the site of one of the most infamous massacres of Native Americans by the United States Army.
Wounded Knee, which was also later the site of a sad and brutal standoff between the American Indian Movement and U.S. Marshals in the 1970s, has been put up for sale, angering residents of the area who are mostly Native Americans, including some direct descendants of survivors of the 1890 massacre. Between 150 to 300 men, women, and children were killed by American soldiers while the cavalry searched for Chief Big Foot's men.
The land at some point fell out of Native American hands, and became the property of Mr. Czywczynski in 1968. Native American groups are trying to purchase the land, but feel that Czywczynski's price is far too high:
"That historical value means something to us, not him," said Garfield Steele, a member of the tribal council who represents Wounded Knee. "We see that greed around here all the time with non-Indians. To me, you can't put a price on the lives that were taken there."
Mr. Czywczynski claims that he had been trying to sell the land to the Oglala Sioux for years, but was unable to make the sale:
"They never could agree on anything," he said. "They either did not have the money; some wanted it, some didn't want it; it was too high, too low. I've come to the conclusion now, at my age, I'm 74 years old, I'm going to sell the property."
Nearly three-quarters of Native Americans living in the county are unemployed, with more than half living below the poverty line. Community groups hope that the buyer respects the history of the site while also trying to contribute to the economy for the downtrodden county.