Native Sun News: Company withdraws offer for Wounded Knee

The following story and update were written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Private firm offers to buy Wounded Knee
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY— The site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre which had been put up for sale by land owner Jim Czywczynski a little more than a month ago now has a potential buyer.

Birdnecklace Renewable Energy, LLC of Sioux Falls informed Native Sun News in that they are making a public offer to buy the land from Czywczynski. BRE stated that it is the company’s intention to purchase the land.

“The purpose of the offer is secure the historical land site “Wounded Knee” in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Wounded Knee Creek, where the 1890 massacre took place and where approximately 300 Lakota Women, Children and Men were indiscriminately massacred by the 7th Calvary of the U.S. Army; the seller and public all agree either the Oglala Sioux Tribe or tribal member purchase the property so that it will remain with the people of the tribe. William Birdnecklace (CEO) is a tribal member.”

Native Sun News was able to confirm that the CEO of the corporation William Birdnecklace is in fact an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. And according to BRE it is the intention of Birdnecklace to acquire the property and to not allow for any further development of the site.

“William Birdnecklace (via BRE) intends to enter an agreement with the seller to acquire this property, and also upon James Czywczynski’s acceptance, a publically announced covenant to maintain the property undisturbed, for historical reverence, and to preserve the sacredness of the site for the tragedy that happened to the relatives of all tribal members,” said the statement from BRE.

Since Native Sun News broke the story of. Czywczynski’s move to offer the land up for sale there has been uproar from all around Indian Country concerning the $3.9 million asking price for the Wounded Knee site and the $1 million dollar price tag on the Porcupine Butte site. Porcupine Butte is where Radio Station KILI is located.

A local official appraised the land as being worth only $7,000 dollars however Czywczynski contends that the history that occurred at Wounded Knee adds tremendous value to the land.

“You cannot put a price on history. There have been two historically significant events that took place here and the appraiser did not take these events in to consideration,” said Czywczynski. “The tragic events that took place in 1890 and the siege by the American Indian Movement in 1973 add value to the sites. You can tell by how many people showed up at the 40th anniversary events this past week,” he added.

The asking price of $3.9 million for the Wounded Knee site and the $1 million for the Porcupine Butte has been scoffed at by members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal council saying that the price is just too high for the tribe to pay. In documents obtained by Native Sun News, BRE is prepared to pay the full price asked by Czywczynski over the course of two years, with 10% down ($490,000) upon the closing of the deal, 20% ($980,000) due at the beginning of the second year, and the remaining 70% ($3,430,000) due by the end of the second year of the agreement. If the purchaser fails to meet any of the payments a thirty day grace period would be granted after which the property would return to Czywczynski according to the contract prepared by BRE. After agreeing to enter into the contract both parties will have 90 days to close the deal.

In addition to the financial parameters of the deal the contract includes covenants offered up by the buyer (BRE). “Buyer intends in this acquisition a covenant both - to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and to the public - to maintain the property undisturbed, and undeveloped - for historical reverence, and to preserve the sacredness of the site for the1890 tragedy that happened to mine and all tribal members’ relatives,” the contract states.

The second covenant is that BRE will allow the tribe access to means of economic development other than the development of the Wounded Knee site. “…that as an alternative for economic benefit potential of building proposed museums at the Wounded Knee site and other tourist attractions – that at an alternate site, the buyer will offer the tribe and local economy access to seller’s propriety patent-pending technology for potential manufacture and development within the local municipality,” the contract states.

The seller of the property Jim Czywczynski said he is aware of the offer but has yet to make a decision regarding the progress of the deal or if he intends to enter in to an agreement with BRE.

“I have just been made aware of the offer and I will have to look further in to it before deciding what to do,” said Czywczynski. “On many levels it excites me however I need to investigate the offer more thoroughly before I can say anything,” he added.

Responding to inquiries from Native Sun News, Birdnecklace said that it is all laid out at his website and that this is a deal that he wants carried out in full view of the public.

“I am comfortable disclosing the information in a press release, which includes internet links to the actual offer letter and financial justification for the offer; this is an important matter for the public and of national interest to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, therefore I will have more comments and information available as this agreement comes to a close and this play’s out for the benefit of our tribe and our Oyate (the people) including those who died at wounded knee,” said Birdnecklace.

According to BRE’s website the company was founded in 2009, and specializes in the development of renewable energy.

This is the first offer Czywczynski has received since he stated publicly he was going to place the sites up for auction if he could not sell the land to the tribe or another Native American group by May 1st.

Birdnecklace LLC withdraws offer
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY— In response to a counter offer from Jim Czywczynski, Birdnecklace LLC has withdrawn their original offer to purchase the Wounded Knee land site citing violations of the Native American Graves and Repatriation act.

As internal haggling over the price of Wounded Knee developed Native Sun News has learned that negotiations between the two parties have now broken down. After reviewing the proposal from Birdnecklace LLC which offered 10% of the $4.9 million upon closing of the deal, Jim Czywczynski owner of the land presented a counter offer asking for 20% down and a willingness to close the deal this past week.

“If you are unable to meet my counter offer I will accept your offer as originally presented. I do hope my offer is acceptable to you, we have to do what we can on behalf of you and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, that is my goal at this time,” said Czywczynski in an email to Birdnecklace.

In response to questioning from Native Sun News William Birdnecklace, CEO of Birdnecklace LLC provided this quote.

“ After receiving and reviewing a counter offer from the seller asking for even more than the initial offered terms could bare - terms which were offered at the seller’s asking price, further research was conducted and revealed the sale of Wounded Knee as a cultural gravesite plus the artifacts and 300 remains there (including the seller’s public claim the site sale includes the remains of Crazy Horse) all may result in federal criminal offenses by seller Mr. Czywczynski in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (potentially up to 301 violations); the seller may be already legally obligated to return the site to the current rightful holder, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, at no cost,” said Birdnecklace.

The two tracts of land owned by Czywczynski, do not include the mass gravesite where the federal government buried approximately the 300 Lakota men, women, and children they massacred in 1890.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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