|The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.
Wounded Knee souvenirs
sign. PHOTO BY/Christina Rose.
Negotiations for Wounded Knee move forward
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor
RAPID CITY—The final deadline to purchase Jim Czywczysnki’s land at Wounded and Porcupine Butte by means other than a bid at a public auction is less than two weeks away.
The immediacy of this deadline has caused one heavy hitter in the business of historical site preservation to step forward.
According to Jim Czywczysnki and emails acquired by Native Sun News an organization called The Trust for Public Land has begun negotiations to purchase the land.
“The representative from The Trust for Public Land told me that there was no way they were going to let Wounded Knee fall in to private ownership,” said Czywczysnki.
The Trust for Public Land is a non-profit organization that “conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places,” according to their website.
The group also claims to have raised more the $34 billion for conservation efforts and that for every $1 dollar that was invested in to the program it has yielded more than $2,000 dollars in new public lands.
A representative from TPL met with Czywczysnki on September 26 at the Minerva’s Restaurant in Rapid City. During the meeting it was conveyed to Czywczysnki that the group had been in touch with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and informed the land owner that the tribe had given them permission to move forward with negotiations on the land.
During the meeting Czywczysnki informed the group that he had already sold the first right of refusal to a group out of California who had only communicated with him through a lawyer based out of Denver
The first right of refusal allows for the California based group to match any offer that Czywcysnki fields from TPL or any others prior to him selling the two forty acre tracts of land.
On Friday September 27 the Oglala Sioux Tribe released a statement addressing an article published in the Rapid City Journal that reported a meeting was to take place between tribal officials and Czywczysnki at the Native Sun News office. However the press release said that it was only scheduled as tentative on President Bryan Brewer’s schedule. The meeting did not take place because Brewer apparently decided to step aside and let the Trust for Public Land handle any further negotiations.
TPL did not make any formal offers but did say that they would be looking in to the stipulations of Czywczynski’s sale of the first right of refusal, according to the land owner.
Czywczysnki said he would continue to negotiate with TPL while continuing to accept bids on the property. “When the deadline roll around I will be working with TPL on behalf of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and we will see where that goes, but as of now it sounds pretty positive,” he said.
The tribe did not confirm or deny if they were in fact involved with TPL in their statement, but they did say that “it in the best interest of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to move in a new direction regarding the land at Wounded Knee.”
(Brandon Ecoffey at email@example.com)
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