Saturday, July 13, 2013

Johnny Depp and the Wounded Knee Land Sale

Is the star of 'The Lone Ranger' really planning to buy the property (and return it to tribal ownership) where 300 Native American men, women, and children were killed by the 7th U.S. Cavalry in the 1890 massacre? Or is it all little more than a rumor? Here are some details that we know to be true:

  • To a recent interview question posed by the London Daily Mail newspaper about the purchase of reservation land, Depp responded, 'I am doing my best to make that happen.' Yes, he did say this, but its exact meaning is still being discussed. 
  • Landowner James Czywczynski, who has owned the two 40-acre parcels since 1968 (and is now trying to sell them), has publicly stated that his only goal is to 'get the land back to the tribe.' 
  • The two parcels of land have been assessed at $14,000.00.
  • Mr. Czywczynski's asking price is $4.9 million.
  • Tribal leadership feels strongly that Mr. Czywczynski is trying to profit from their ancestor's killings.
  • Besides its proximity to the Indian burial grounds, the land includes the site of a previous trading post burned during the 1973 Wounded Knee uprising, where hundreds of American Indian Movement protestors occupied the town built on the massacre location.
  • That 71-day Wounded Knee standoff left two tribal members dead and a federal agent seriously wounded.
Joseph Brings Plenty, a spokesman for the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation, and who had several ancestors killed in the 1890 massacre, says: 'Honestly, I don't think it would be a bad thing if Johnny Depp would purchase the land with the cooperation of the various tribes. What is most important is that the land is preserved and an accurate account of what happened is shared with the public through a monument, a memorial.'
Time will be the determiner, as to whether or not Mr. Depp is serious about resolving this dilemma for the Sioux Nation. My feeling, which would be of little surprise to most, is that James Czywczynski is indeed greedy - greedy beyond all sense of reason and reality. If he truly cared about the people, history, and land, he would reconsider his outlandish price, drastically reduce it, and work with the Sioux Nation to transfer ownership in a dispatchful manner. Shame on you, Mr. Czywczynski, for not allowing this to happen. A day will come when you will reap reward for your action.
As for how Johnny Depp decides to spend his money: There are many world causes he could contribute to, and this cause is a noble one. It really is all about the time you are given to live on this earth, and what you choose to do with that time. Giving thanks for gifts received includes the act of sharing those gifts. Giving back is what really matters, not taking. God bless you, Johnny Depp, if this is the choice you make.
Source information: The Arizona Daily Star, Saturday, July 13, 2013.

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