I didn’t even know that Wounded Knee was in private hands until this story popped up in the news. The landowner has given the Oglala Sioux until May 1 to come up with the money before he puts it up for auction. Unfortunately, the asking price is $3.9 million and the tribe is deeply in debt. The current price seems high to me, but the guy claims he’s already had three offers.
There’s disagreement within the tribe as to what should be done with the site; some see opportunities for more tourist-related revenue, while others oppose any major development nearby. Personally, I’d like to see the federal government step in and buy it with an eye toward eventual management by the National Park Service. Supporters of tourism would get the visitor draw they’re after, while the NPS could preserve the site and interpret it in a tasteful, professional, and sensitive manner that would hopefully be agreeable to folks who aren’t keen on development. Seems to me like a sensible solution, but that’s just my two cents.