In the United States there is no interest in the nation's real history. We are constantly reinventing our national past to fit the whims of the day. I know this because one of the most important massacre sites of the last 150 years is about to be the new home of a horse slaughterhouse. Horses are deeply sacred to traditionalist American Indian peoples.
At the intersection of South Dakota racism, poverty, cultural loss, political pragmatism and racial-cultural hybridity is the story of Wounded Knee:
A proposal to built a horse slaughterhouse at Pine Ridge is one of many contentious issues that have emerged at the reservation over the last few months, a reservation that has received the closest media attention since 1973, when a confrontation between Native Americans and the FBI left three dead.Let that price tag settle in for a moment if you didn't spit your drink out. 40 acres in South Dakota for $3,900,000. And it's not even arable land in South Dakota. 40 acres is nothing in the agricultural sphere.
The most emotive of all the present issues is the proposed sale of land adjacent to the infamous site of 1890 Wounded Knee massacre, the last clash of the Indian wars in which the Seventh Cavalry slaughtered at least 150 men, women and children. Some estimates put the death toll at more than double that. The seller of the 40 acres, James Czywczynski, gave the Native Americans an ultimatum: come up with $3.9m, or I'll seek buyers elsewhere. The deadline is Wednesday
This is one of the poorest places in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti.
People are dying because there's an 80% unemployment rate.
Let me state that if you read more, you will know there's a debate within the tribe over what to do. I do not presume to interfere in a tribe's internal doings or to condemn any in the pragmatist wing who rightly point out that people need jobs, or the traditionalist camp who emphasize sacred obligations. Because the agent who's at fault here is committing outrageous exploitation. He's a non-Indian who probably has little sympathy or kindness towards any Indian people. If you think that's presumptuous, try being a person of Indian descent in the West. This guys looks and walks like a the duck I'm talking about.
This is not a static place that was only significant once. We do have people who were there for the reclaiming of Wounded Knee and fought the FBI for it: Carter Camp and Meteor Blades.