SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The planned auction of nearly 2,000 acres of land in South Dakota’s picturesque Black Hills that is considered sacred by American Indian tribes has been canceled, though it wasn’t immediately clear why.
Brock Auction Co. planned to auction five tracts of land owned by local residents Leonard and Margaret Reynolds on Saturday. But a message on the auction house’s website Thursday said it has been canceled at the landowners’ direction.
The auction house and Margaret Reynolds declined comment, and tribal officials were left wondering what had happened.
“There are a lot of things we don’t know at this point,” Rosebud Sioux Tribe spokesman Alfred Walking Bull said. “If there was a change of heart, we’re definitely thankful for that. We’re hoping for the best. We can take a breath right now.”
Tribes of the Great Sioux Nation consider the site key to their creation story and are trying to purchase the land, which they call Pe’ Sla, because they fear new owners would develop it. The property, which spans about 1,942 acres of pristine prairie grass, is the only sacred site on private land currently outside Sioux control.
The Rosebud Sioux has allocated $1.3 million toward trying to purchase the property, though tribal officials fear the selling price could be between $6 million and $10 million.