LINKS
2018-02-08 / Front Page

Actions Taken To Protect Wounded Knee Massacre Site

BY JIM KENT
LCT CORRESPONDENT


Members of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre Descendants Society are asking the Oglala Lakota County Commissioners to help them in protecting a site considered sacred by many from development. Shown here is the mass grave where those killed during the massacre were buried. Photo courtesy Phyllis Hollow Horn Members of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre Descendants Society are asking the Oglala Lakota County Commissioners to help them in protecting a site considered sacred by many from development. Shown here is the mass grave where those killed during the massacre were buried. Photo courtesy Phyllis Hollow Horn HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – Members of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre Descendants Society appeared before the Oglala Lakota County Commissioners calling for protection of the site where some 300 Lakota men, women and children were killed by members of the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry on December 29, 1890.

Oglala Lakota County is entirely within the Pine Ridge Reservation, where the Wounded Knee Massacre took place.

During her presentation to the county commissioners, Society president and spokesperson Loreal Black Shawl noted that the group’s primary goal at this point is to protect the massacre site from the impacts of any development in the area.

Key to that concern currently is a proposal by South Dakota newspaper publisher and Oglala Sioux tribal member Tim Giago to purchase 40 acres of land near the site owned by Jim Czywczyski, a non-Native, in order to build a museum, a facility to sell Lakota arts and crafts, a trading post and a campground.

“We believe that the land should be left as is,” Black Shawl commented. “There should be no commercial or structural development at all.”

Black Shawl added that since the land Czywczyski owns falls within an 870- acre parcel that has been designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark in 1965, the Commissioners should acknowledge its historic significance and protect it from development by anyone – Native or non- Native.

After hearing Black Shawl’s testimony, the Commissioners discussed the matter and voted unanimously to address the following topics at their next meeting: to appoint an Oglala Lakota County Planning and Zoning Board, which will be empowered to decide on zoning regulations throughout the county; and to appoint an Oglala Lakota County Historic Preservation Commission, which will be empowered to protect areas of historical importance and/ or sensitivity throughout the county.

Lila Hutchison is one of the Oglala Lakota County Commissioners.

“I am in favor of what they’re proposing,” Hutchison commented, “that we protect that area as far forward as we’re able to. No one has approached us specifically like they did today. And I think we’re all real grateful for that because it has been a worry for a long time that some outside developer would come in and do…whatever there. And I think we all agree with the Wounded Knee Descendants Society that we don’t want anything there…but quiet.”

The bottom line, adds Loreal Black Shawl, is that the Wounded Knee Massacre descendants want to respect and honor their relatives in a way that will allow them to rest in the dignity that was never afforded to them.

Jim Kent can be reached at kentvfte@gwtc.net

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