small patch of prairie sits largely unnoticed off a desolate road in southwestern South Dakota, tucked amid gently rolling hills and surrounded by dilapidated structures and hundreds of gravesites _ many belonging to Native Americans massacred more than a century earlier.
The assessed value of the property: less than $14,000. The seller’s asking price: $4.9 million.
Tribal members say the man who owns a piece of the Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is trying to profit from their suffering. It was there, on Dec. 29, 1890, that 300 Native American men, women and children were killed by the 7th Cavalry in the final battle of the American Indian Wars.
James Czywczynski, whose family has owned the property since 1968, is trying to sell the 40-acre fraction of the historic landmark and another 40-acre parcel for a total of $4.9 million. He has given the Oglala Sioux Tribe until Wednesday to agree to the price or plans to open it up to outside investors.
Earlier this month Czywczynski said he had three offers from West Coast-based investment groups interested in buying the land for the original asking price. He didn’t return calls this week to The Associated Press seeking information about the prospective buyers.
These images are utterly beyond “worth a thousand words”
Native Americans: Portraits From a Century Ago
Apr 8, 2013
In the early 1900s, Seattle-based photographer Edward S. Curtis embarked on a project of epic scale, to travel the western United States and document the lives of Native Americans still untouched by Western society. Curtis secured funding from J.P. Morgan, and visited more than 80 tribes over the next 20 years, taking more than 40,000 photographs, 10,000 wax cylinder recordings, and huge volumes of notes and sketches. The end result was a 20-volume set of books illustrated with nearly 2,000 photographs, titled “The North American Indian.” In the hundred-plus years since the first volume was published, Curtis’s depictions have been both praised and criticized. The sheer documentary value of such a huge and thorough project has been celebrated, while critics of the photography have objected to a perpetuation of the myth of the “noble savage” in stage-managed portraits. Step back now, into the early 20th century, and let Edward Curtis show you just a few of the thousands of faces he viewed through his lens
Dozens of Native Americans wore the traditional garb of their ancestors, sang songs and beat drums on a western Connecticut farm Saturday in celebration of the birth of one of the world’s rarest animals — a white bison.
The miracle calf was officially named Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy at the elaborate ceremony at the Mohawk Bison farm in Goshen in the state’s northwestern hills. It was born June 16 at the farm of fourth-generation farmer Peter Fay.
Many Native Americans consider white bison a symbol of hope and unity; some consider their births sacred events. Experts say white bison are as rare as one in 10 million.
Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy is not an albino, and Fay said DNA testing confirmed the animal’s bloodlines are pure and there was no intermingling with cattle.
Lakota tribe members from South Dakota were among the hundreds of people who gathered at the celebration. Other tribal elders from the Mohawk, Seneca and Cayuga tribes participated.
Crowds patiently waited by the roadside before slowly marching into the pasture and lining up alongside a fence as the ceremony began. Children squeezed up against their parents and peered through the fence.
A hundred years ago, archaeologists thought Native Americans came to North America only 5,000 years ago. That belief changed in the 1920s and 1930s as researchers started finding stone projectile points associated with the fossils of mammoths and giant bisons—animals that went extinct more than 10,000 years ago. For decades, the oldest known points dated to 13,000 years ago. Called Clovis points, they contained characteristic “flutes,” or long, concave grooves, where a spear locked into place.
More recent evidence reveals humans reached the New World, via the Bering Strait, by at least 15,000 years ago. These early Americans weren’t making Clovis points. Last week, archaeologists announced in Science another example of pre-Clovis technology.
The tools come from Oregon’s Paisley Caves. Dennis Jenkins of the University of Oregon and colleagues determined people were living in the area by at least 14,000 years ago based on the radiocarbon dates of human coprolites (fossilized dung) found in the cave. They also found projectile points of the same age or slightly older than Clovis points. Known as the Western Stemmed Tradition, these points are narrower, lack flutes and require a different chipping method to make than Clovis points.
Israeli researchers: Group of Colorado Indians have genetic Jewish roots
Sheba Medical Center geneticists find common genetic mutation, often called the ‘Ashkenazi mutation,’ associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Sheba Medical Center geneticists have found that a population of Indians in the U.S. state of Colorado has genetic Jewish roots going back to the expulsion of Jews from Spain.
The common marker was a unique genetic mutation on the BRCA1 gene. This mutation, commonly known as the “Ashkenazi mutation,” is found in Jews of Ashkenazi origin and is associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
The trail began with research conducted by Prof. Jeffrey Weitzel, an oncogenetic (cancer genetics) expert at the City of Hope Hospital in California. Weitzel examined samples from 110 American families of Hispanic origin, and followed them through a computational genetics study, and in 2005 published an article pointing to their common ancestry: People who had immigrated to the United States from Mexico and South America.
She was 19, a young Alaska Native woman in this icebound fishing village of 800 in the Yukon River delta, when an intruder broke into her home and raped her. The man left. Shaking, the woman called the tribal police, a force of three. It was late at night. No one answered. She left a message on the department’s voice mail system. Her call was never returned. She was left to recover on her own.
A sign at Emmonak’s shelter. One in three American Indian women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape, according to the Justice Department. Their rate of sexual assault is more than twice the national average. More Photos »
“I drank a lot,” she said this spring, three years later. “You get to a certain point, it hits a wall.”
One in three American Indian women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape, according to the Justice Department. Their rate of sexual assault is more than twice the national average. And no place, women’s advocates say, is more dangerous than Alaska’s isolated villages, where there are no roads in or out, and where people are further cut off by undependable telephone, electrical and Internet service.
The issue of sexual assaults on American Indian women has become one of the major sources of discord in the current debate between the White House and the House of Representatives over the latest reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
The last half century has not been kind to Christopher Columbus. Drawing on a study of exhumed skulls from fifteenth-century Europe, an article in the most recent Yearbook of Physical Anthropology found that syphilis, first diagnosed in Europe in 1495, was carried back to the continent by Columbus’ crew. Within a decade, the bacterium had spread to European soldiers in India, who then infected Asians, making syphilis the first global epidemic. Once the great explorer, Columbus was now just an agent of venereal disease.
Columbus has long stood at the center of debates about globalization: when and how it began, and who it has helped and hurt in the five centuries since he made landfall in 1492. His discovery of the Americas was central to the process of integration and growing interdependence of the various parts of the world, one that continues to this day.
For many years, historians and the public viewed Columbus as a visionary, a heroic discoverer, and a defier of orthodoxy. In the 1960s, however, the prevailing academic view of the Genoese mariner became less flattering. Columbus was slathered with blame for all the destruction that followed in his wake: tens of millions of Native Americans dead and another ten million Africans enslaved. Yes, Columbus connected the hemispheres and ushered in the modern world, but the benefits accrued mainly to Europeans. Revisionist historians, such as Kirkpatrick Sale, captured this mood. Sale’s popular 1990 account, The Conquest of Paradise, argued that Columbus spearheaded a campaign to plunder and destroy the Edenic world of the Americas. Instead of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the American landfall, Sale and others lamented it, echoing the growing public discontent with globalization itself.
The Great Plains of northern Montana once again have wild American buffalo roaming their vast expanse.
Nearly hunted to extinction in the 1880s, genetically pure bison now number in the few thousands — and for the first time, several dozen have been handed over to Native Americans who relied on American buffalo for thousands of years.
“This is the most significant development in many, many generations,” said Stoney Anketell, who sits on the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Board. “When I think of my ancestors, they would be so pleased this occurred, it’s finally a reversal of fortune for the Indian people.”
Yet the tribes are now in the middle of a culture clash over the animal.
After the 61 pure bison were relocated from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana, the Native Americans who received them — along with conservationists — have found themselves pitted against ranchers and farmers.
One people’s treasured beast is another’s nuisance.
“They want everything,” fourth generation rancher Dustin Hofeldt said. “All the fences gone, all the cattle out of here — they just want this to be a giant game refuge.”
Hofeldt is one of many plaintiffs who successfully sued to block future bison relocations.
He is no stranger to bison problems. In 2005, he shot and killed five in a single day after they had escaped from a neighboring reservation and were harassing his cattle. Last year, he claims bison broke his fencing and ate his hay, costing him $20,000.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Hofeldt and the other opponents are being irrational.
“In a hundred years, this herd will still only grow to a few thousand, and we have 3 million cattle in Montana,” Schweitzer said. “I think there’s room for them to coexist.”
Pretty far back in the 20th century, when the American government was waging an immoral war on Vietnam and conducting illegal campaigns against Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers, along with supporting unfair practices against everyone from Native Americans to women to migrant farm workers—back then I used to get stopped by the police on a regular basis.
I remember one time I was walking down this lonely road with a white friend. We both had long hair and were feeling no pain. It was nighttime, and the desert air felt good to us. A police cruiser pulled up out of nowhere, it seemed. A big policeman got out and pointed his pistol at my groin. He said, “Why did you break into that building over there?”
What was I supposed to say? My father always told me, “Never argue with a man with a gun.” Never argue with a policeman, for that matter.
I claimed innocence while imagining explosive castration.
My friend calmly said that he attended the nearby college and that we had been together all night. He didn’t show any ID nor did he say what we had been doing. But he was white and that was that. The police left us alone, and I, still feeling pretty good, continued on my walk with my friend.
That was 42 years ago. It wasn’t the last time I was stopped. It wasn’t the last time I had a gun pulled on me. I have never carried a gun.
It seems like a lot has changed since way back then.
Back then the case of a young black man getting gunned down on the streets of America would not, as a rule, have made the national news. This, I suppose, is a hopeful sign, an indication that even a young so-called black man can be considered to have rights, and might, in some rare moments, take the role of victim in the eyes of the omnipresent (but not omniscient) media.
Back then the governor of a Southern state would not have talked about seeking justice for some nonwhite teenager walking the streets of a gated community. This too, on the surface, seems like the kind of social change one would expect in a nation that has so recently elected its first nonwhite president.