The Rapid City man who is selling a controversial parcel of property near the burial ground of the Wounded Knee massacre said Monday that he is talking to three private buyers but has not finalized a sale.
James Czywczynski, 75, drew national and international media attention this year after offering to sell the 40-acre property located in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is in the vicinity of where 300 Native Americans were killed by the U.S. military on Dec. 29, 1890.
Czywczynski originally proposed to sell the parcel and another parcel at Porcupine Butte to the Oglala Lakota Nation for $4.9 million by May 1. The tribe scoffed at the price and deadline, hailing it as excessive and bordering on extortion.
This month, having passed his self-declared deadline, Czywczynski said he is in negotiations with three interested buyers and spoke to all of them again on Monday.
"They just wanted more time this week to put their funding sources together," he said. "They have not put the effort in that I thought they might. But it's alright, it's a lot of money and they have to come up with adequate funding."
Czywczynski said the three parties were the same ones he talked to before the May 1 deadline: a California investment group, a California management group and a Native American group that has given Czywczynski limited information, but he believes is based in Wall.
"Every one of these people are anonymous and secret," he said. "That's the two words they always use."
Czywczynski's offer has sparked anger among some Oglala Lakota who fear that the property will be developed into a commercial attraction that will exploit or degrade the area's dark history. Native American activists have threatened to protest if such a project goes ahead.