Associated Press/Rapid City Journal
This February 7, 2012 photo shows a cross on a grave at the Wounded Knee National Historic landmark in South Dakota.

Wounded Knee Owner Threatens Tribe: 'Buy Now or I'm Auctioning It Off'

Vincent Schilling
August 15, 2013


James Czywczynski, the current owner of the Wounded Knee site has told the Oglala Sioux Tribe they have until September 2 to purchase the land. If no one steps forward to purchase the land for the tribe, Czywczynski says he will hold a public auction for the land.

“I feel that I have given the tribe every opportunity to buy the land or for someone associated with them to do it. They say they have multiple buyers ready to purchase it for them, but they have not taken the steps to get it done,” he told Brandon Ecoffey, managing editor of Native Sun News. “When I met with President [Bryan] Brewer and the descendants I thought it went well and something would have come from it... but I have heard nothing.”

That meeting took place at the newspaper’s offices July 14 between the Horn family, Brewer and Czywczynski. It was then that Brewer asked Czywczynski if he would consider selling the site with the tribe’s blessing and donating half the proceeds to the Survivors of Wounded Knee organization.

At the close of the meeting, Czywczynski said he would consider the offer.

Shortly after the meeting in Rapid City Czywczynski told ICTMN he sent an email and packet to the tribe and Brewer asking them to pay the entire $4.9 million asking price if they wanted to obtain the land and the deed.

Czywczynski has also been telling ICTMN that he has had offers from several interested parties that want to donate the land to the tribe, but as of yet, none of those parties have been able to raise all of the money or make good on their promises to buy.

“I have put other potential buyers off while I entertained the groups working on behalf of the tribe, but I can’t wait any longer,” he told Native Sun News.

Brewer doesn’t believe Czywczynski will have any buyers with the arrangement not to donate half of the proceeds to benefit the site. He also says a deadline is nothing new.

“This isn't the first time he has said this, he set a deadline and we watched and waited and he had no buyers. No buyers are going to purchase this land because they will never be able to use it,” Brewer said.

Brewer also has not received an email or a package from Czywczynski about any counter offer.

“I have received nothing. I have not heard from him other than the letter I received from him that thanked us for having the meeting in Rapid City. I have not received anything else yet,” he said.

Johnny Depp Sighted?

For over a month since his interview in the UK’s DailyMail in which Johnny Depp announced an interest in purchasing the site of Wounded Knee, there is still no word from Depp or his publicists about his comments to buy the land.

There was however a recent rumor about a sighting of Depp on Pine Ridge. President Brewer said it was only a rumor though.

“That was a crazy rumor. There were rumors going all over. There was no Johnny Depp, at least not that I know of. There were rumors he was with me. He wasn't with me. Every girl on the reservation was calling me to say ‘please give him my telephone number.’ I don't know who started those rumors, but it spread like wildfire. I have a whole list of numbers I am supposed to give to him,” Brewer said. “It really would be great if he could come to our reservation.”