By Red Power Media, Staff
Tim Giago to purchase Wounded Knee property.
For years, Oglala Sioux Tribe officials have been unable to reach an agreement to purchase the historic Wounded Knee massacre site, which occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
In a July 2013, interview with the Daily Mail, Johnny Depp, the actor who portrayed Tonto in Disney’s Lone Ranger movie announced that he was ready to buy Wounded Knee and return it to the Native American people, but Depp failed to keep his word.
Now according to KELOLAND TV, Lakota journalist Tim Giago, who spent his childhood living near the Wounded Knee site, believes he has a plan that will work.
It begins with with a private landowner Jim Czywczynski, who owns key property at the site, including the location of the old Wounded Knee Trading Post.
“I talked to Jim Czywczynski and he gave me the exclusive rights to purchase that Wounded Knee property,” Giago said.
Giago has established a non-profit organization called the National Historic Site of Wounded Knee Inc to use in fundraising and buying of the property for $$3.9 million.
“But the intent of purchasing the land is to set up a trust and put the land in trust for all nine tribes of the Great Sioux Nation,” Giago said. “Every tribe in South Dakota has an historic connection, I think, this sacred ground, Wounded Knee.”
Giago said the Wounded Knee Trading Post was built in the late 1920s along Wounded Knee Creek, in part of the area where the massacre occurred. The business was burned during the American Indian Movement occupation in 1973, as activist’s protested alleged civil-rights violations and racism.
Giago, who argued that the owners of the Trading Post were victimized by that takeover, had a personal relationship with the creek and the Trading Post long before 1973. His father worked at the Trading Post and the family lived nearby when Giago was a child in the 1930s. Giago played in and around the Trading Post and along the creek.
The 81-year-old Lakota journalist wants something done – something that will last and have meaning. It would start with a museum at the massacre site, just across the highway from the cemetery where many are buried, telling the story and honoring the victims.
“I’d like to see a Native American Holocaust Museum built on the site Giago told ICTMN.
Czywczynski thinks Giago is the right man to make that happen. Giago’s has wide connections on the reservation, across South Dakota and far beyond, along with respect as an elder in the Native American community, Czywczynski said.
Tim Giago, is a renowned Lakota journalist, publisher and founder of the Lakota Times, Native Sun News and Indian Country Today.