- An anonymous bidder bought a cave featuring 1,000-year-old Native American art in a $ 2.2 million sale.
- The Osage Nation called the sale “really heartbreaking.”
- “Our ancestors lived in this region for 1,300 years. It was our land,” he said.
A cave in Missouri that houses 1,000-year-old Native American art has been auctioned for $ 2.2 million.
The bidder, who declined to be named publicly, bought the cave and 43 acres from a St. Louis family who owned the land, The Associated Press reported. The family had mainly used the land for hunting, the AP said.
The Osage Nation previously used the cave for sacred rituals and to bury the dead, the AP reported.
The indigenous group criticized the sale.
In a statement, the Osage Nation said the sale was “really heartbreaking.”
“Our ancestors lived in this region for 1,300 years,” he said. “It was our land. We have hundreds of thousands of our ancestors buried in Missouri and Illinois, including Picture Cave,” in reference to the cave’s name.
The Osage Nation said they hoped to purchase the land to “protect and preserve our most sacred site.”
Carol Diaz-Granados, an associate researcher in the anthropology department at Washington University in St. Louis, also criticized the sale.
“The auction of a sacred American Indian site really sends the wrong message,” Diaz-Granados said, according to the AP. “It’s like auctioning off the Sistine Chapel.”
She said she hoped the new owner would donate the cave to the Osage Nation.
“This is their cave,” she said. “This is their sacred sanctuary, and it should be theirs.”