Native Sun News: New York Times takes on Wounded Knee

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

New York Times visits Native Sun News
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff writer

RAPID CITY—The New York times paid a visit to the Native Sun News office in Rapid City on March 11 to interview Jim Czywczynski (the owner of two tracts of land where the massacre of Wounded Knee took place) for a story they are doing on the sale of Wounded Knee.

Native Sun News broke the story on Mr. Czywczynski’s plans to sell Wounded Knee for $3.9 million and the Porcupine Butte site for $1 million has been picked up by media outlets all over the world including the USA today, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, Argus Leader, Rapid City Journal and not one of these news outlets gave credit to NSN for breaking the story and now the prestigious New York Times will give it a try.

John Eligon the Midwest Correspondent for the NY times told Native Sun News that after doing research on the sale of Wounded Knee that the stories produced by NSN have been viewed by his office, and that they have inspired them to look further into the story.

“When we began to do our research on the sale of Wounded Knee, Native Sun News’ stories were the ones that came up first and were the ones we looked at,” said Elignon.

The statement by Elignon was the first time publicly that any of the major mainstream news outlets acknowledged NSN’s role in bringing the story to light. The interview that occurred with Mr. Czywczynski at the NSN home office in Rapid City, SD lasted for over three hours and covered a multitude of topics including the history of Wounded Knee, Mr. Czywczynski’s original acquisition of the two tracts of land he is selling, and the current state of affairs on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Mr. Elignon who is a graduate of Northwestern University’s prestigious School of Journalism, spent a number of days in and around Pine Ridge interviewing tribal members on a wide variety of topics for his upcoming story on the sale of Wounded Knee.

“I spoke with representatives of the tribal government and about 15 other tribal members it was a wonderful learning experience,” said Elignon.

The May 1, deadline established by Mr. Czywczynski for any tribe or Native American group to buy Wounded Knee is still in place according to him.

“I’ve had one significant offer to purchase the lands however the state of those negotiations is in limbo,” said Czywczynski. “If nothing develops before May 1, I still intend to put the land up for auction. I would prefer that the tribe acquire the lands but I may have no choice,” he added. Czywcznski emphasized that the land he owns does not include the sacred gravesite where the victims of the 1890 massacre are buried. “The gravesite is not on the land I am offering for sale,” he said.

The story from the NY times on the sale is expected within the next few weeks.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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