Wounded Knee Massacre site could soon be fully owned by Lakota tribes

Wounded Knee Massacre site could be fully owned by the Oglala Sioux and Cheyenne River tribes without government interference
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:26 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - 40 acres of land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation could now be owned by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

The Wounded Knee Massacre happened in December of 1890. While many historians don’t have an exact number, it is believed that anywhere from 1 hundred and 50 to 400 Lakota people died.

The sacred land could now be handed over to the Lakota people, without any interference from the federal government, after a new house bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress.

“We’ve worked very closely with the tribes throughout this process. We would not be engaged in this process if we weren’t doing this with the collaboration, coordination, and leadership of the two tribes. They understand that this is a sacred ground. They have really stepped forward as leaders to try and protect this ground, and they know that federal protection, in essence moving this into trust will do an even better job of helping them protect that ground,” said representative Dusty Johnson.

Johnson describes landownership in native country as quote “checkerboard”. He says there are a variety of legal ownership situations on the land itself. He went on to say that these 40 acres deserve to be owned by the Oglala Sioux and Cheyenne River tribes, saying they will treat it as the sacred site it is.

“The two tribes will manage this property together. Having it in trust status will make sure that it isn’t taxed by the government and that there aren’t other things the federal government can do to infringe upon the rights of the tribes to manage this ground, basically as a memorial to that sacred ground,” Johnson continued.

Johnson goes on to say the transfer of land is something the government wants in order to ensure the tribes have the opportunity to appropriately and respectfully maintain the ground.

We did reach out to the Oglala Sioux Tribe for a comment but have not heard back yet.