Johnny Depp is reportedly mulling the idea of buying the Wounded Knee massacre site in South Dakota and returning it to the Oglala Sioux tribe.
On December 29, 1890, as many as 300 Native Americans were killed there in a battle with the US 7th Cavalry in the last battle of the American Indian wars. The site is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The land is currently owned by James Czywczynski who is asking almost $5 million for two parcels that have been assessed at $14,000. Czywczynski has said that he wants whoever buys the land, Depp or anyone else, to donate it to the Oglala Sioux.
Depp, who says he is of Cherokee or Creek heritage, told London’s Daily Mail that “It’s very sacred ground and many atrocities were committed against the Sioux there…This historical land is so important to the Sioux culture and all I want to do is buy it and give it back. I am doing my best to make that happen. It’s land they were pushed on to and then they were massacred there. It really saddens me.”
AP reports that millionaire actor has yet to make an official offer to buy the land, however. Oglala Sioux President Bryan Brewer said that he has not heard anything from Depp’s representatives.
The Native American community apparently has had a mixed reaction to Depp’s potential offer, however, although Brewer said that “We certainly appreciate his concern for this matter and the respect he is demonstrating to our people. The possibility of his goodwill effort toward keeping this land intact and in tribal hands is amazing.”
The Wounded Knee Survivors Association is opposed to any development in the area that would trivialize Wounded Knee and make it into a tourist attraction, the Omaha World Herald reports.
Johnny Depp starred in the would-be summer blockbuster The Lone Ranger, which failed miserably at the box office and reportedly could lose about $200 million for the Disney studios. AP notes that “The possibility of the celebrity purchase is generating debate in Native American communities… Depp, who plays the part of the Native American character Tonto in the film, has been accused of playing into stereotypes and misappropriating Native American culture.”
Do you think Johnny Depp is serious about buying the Wound Knee massacre site?
[Image via: Featureflash / Shutterstock]