A Missouri cave with 1,000-year-old Native American artwork was auctioned off for $2.2 million, angering Indigenous leaders

·2 min read
artwork on a cave wall
The Missouri cave featuring artwork from the Osage Nation dating back more than 1,000 years. Alan Cressler via AP
  • An unnamed bidder bought a cave featuring 1,000-year-old Native American art in a $2.2 million sale.

  • The Osage Nation called the sale "truly heartbreaking."

  • "Our ancestors lived in this area for 1,300 years. This was our land," it said.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A cave in Missouri that has 1,000-year-old Native American artwork was sold at an auction for $2.2 million.

The bidder, who declined to be publicly named, bought the cave and 43 acres from a St. Louis family that owned the land, the Associated Press reported. The family had mostly used the land for hunting, the AP said.

The Osage Nation previously used the cave for sacred rituals and burying the dead, the AP reported.

The Indigenous group has criticized the sale.

In a statement, the Osage Nation said the sale was "truly heartbreaking."

"Our ancestors lived in this area for 1300 years," it said. "This was our land. We have hundreds of thousands of our ancestors buried throughout Missouri and Illinois, including Picture Cave," referring to the name of the cave.

The Osage Nation said it had hoped to buy the land to "protect and preserve our most sacred site."

Carol Diaz-Granados, a research associate in the anthropology department at Washington University in St. Louis, also slammed the sale.

"Auctioning off a sacred American Indian site truly 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.

"That's their cave," she said. "That's their sacred shrine, and it should go back to them."

Read the original article on Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting