The $3.9 million price tag on the site of the Wounded Knee massacre is steep — but a fraction of Johnny Depp's paycheck from The Lone Ranger.
A couple of news stories broke yesterday that commanded the attention of Indian country, and specifically the Oglala Sioux Tribe, to whom Wounded Knee is sacred ground. First was the revelation that Depp would like to buy the land and return it to the tribe. When contacted, Wounded Knee's owner said that he is eager to sell to Depp. "Johnny Depp has a lot of money," Czywczynski told ICTMN. "He could probably raise this money in a heartbeat." Tribal president Bryan Brewer also expressed enthusiasm, saying that "the possibility of his goodwill effort toward keeping this land intact and in tribal hands is amazing."
Neither party has heard from Depp yet, but an online petition at Change.org directed at Depp and his agent seeks to push the actor to make good on his statements. Referencing Native peoples' history of disappointment at empty promises, the petition reads as follows:
"Keep your word. Promises to indigenous people are frequently made and broken. You promised to buy Wounded Knee and give it to the Sioux Nation. The owners want to sell. Keep your word. Buy Wounded Knee and gift it freely to the Sioux Nation."
Read the petition: "Johnny Depp: Keep his word to buy Wounded Knee for the Sioux Nation."
According to TheWire.com, Johnny Depp makes in excess of $20 million per film. While making The Lone Ranger, Depp curried favor with both the Navajo Nation (where much of the movie was shot) and the Comanche Nation (Tonto's tribe, in this version of the story). Will the Oglala Sioux Tribe be next?