The Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial and Sacred Site Act prevents the land from being taxed by state and local governments and protects it from development.
On December 29th, 1890, almost 300 men, women, and children were shot and killed by soldiers.
Last year the Cheyenne River and the Oglala Sioux tribes teamed up to purchase the roughly 40 acres of land. Representative Dusty Johnson’s bill would put the Wounded Knee site in restricted fee status, which is like a trust. Both tribes support the bill and hope it will be passed by the U.S. House and Senate and signed by President Biden. Oglala Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out and says protecting the site is important to his people.
“It’s a great step that we were able to gain control of a sacred site where people were laid to rest, the final resting site, and that was always a problem who as the rightful owners,” said Star Comes Out.
Johnson feels the Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial and Sacred Site Act has a good chance of passing.
“America is the greatest country that’s ever been, but that doesn’t mean we are perfect and I think that part of being a more perfect union is acknowledging our mistakes of the past and working with our tribal partners to make sure we are honoring the sacrifice, not honoring but remembering the dark stain of that day,” said Johnson.
According to Johnson, if the land is approved for restricted fee status, it would be protected for generations to come.
Star Comes Out says tribal officials have been working on the land deal for many years. “Culturally we are strong people, we are probably not rich financially but we are rich in culture, tradition and pride,” said Star Comes Out.
If the bill passes the land may not be sold without the consent of Congress and both tribes.