SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — After months of high-profile fundraising that drew celebrities' attention and dollars, a group of Native American tribes has raised $9 million to buy a piece of land in South Dakota's Black Hills that they consider sacred, an official with an Indian land foundation said Friday.
The Indian Land Tenure Foundation president Cris Stainbrook told The Associated Press that the tribes raised enough money to purchase the land from its current owners. The foundation was one of several groups and organizations leading the effort to buy the land.
Stainbrook said the deal should be finalized yet Friday, which was the deadline for the tribes to raise the money.
The land, known as Pe' Sla, went up for sale after being privately owned. Members of the Great Sioux Nation have been allowed to gather there every year to perform rituals. The site plays a key role in the tribes' creation story, and members fear new owners would develop it.
Landowners Leonard and Margaret Reynolds canceled a public auction of the property earlier this year after tribal members expressed outrage. The Reynolds' then accepted the tribes' bid to purchase the land for $9 million, should they raise enough money by Nov. 30.
The couple has repeatedly said they will not speak publicly about the land sale.