After no word from Johnny Depp about buying Wounded Knee, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer and three members of the Descendants of Wounded Knee met with James Czywczynski, the owner of the land, on July 14 hoping to come to some sort of agreement.
After putting the site of Wounded Knee on the market for $3.9 million and another parcel near Porcupine Butte, South Dakota for $1 million in May, Czywczynski has still not been able to sell. Brewer says Czywczynski might have a better chance of selling the land with a blessing from the tribe. Brewer hopes to work a deal with Czywczynski that could benefit everyone.
“I made a proposal that if we okayed the sale of the land to be returned to the tribe, he could benefit from it and also make a donation to the Descendants of Wounded Knee,” Brewer told ICTMN. “This could be a place for education for our people and for the outsiders. Right now, no one is benefitting from this. The descendants were never going to benefit from this.”
The tribe is asking Czywczynski to split the proceeds from the sale of Wounded Knee 50/50. Brewer said the arrangement is not negotiable and if it was not honored the tribe would seek to take the land back through the process of eminent domain. If this process is successful, Czywczynski would only receive fair market value. The Rapid City Journal has reported the appraised value of his land is $7,000.
“I told him, the way it is right now, you are not going to get anything. Our tribe has voted to possibly look at enforcing eminent domain to take the land back, but then he would get nothing. This way, we would get the land back, he would get the money, and the descendants would get money so that we could do something for the wounded knee site,” Brewer said.
According to Native Sun News managing editor Brandon Ecoffey, who was at the meeting, the conversation sometimes became heated between Czywczynski and the descendants, who feel anyone profiting from the land at Wounded Knee is looking for blood money.
According to documents brought to the meeting by the descendants, the land at Wounded Knee was originally sold for $1,000 to Clive and Agnes Gildersleeve by a Lakota couple named Mattie Good Medicine-Looking Horse and Lois Good Medicine. Descendant Linda Hollow Horn said she had documentation Czywczynski bought Wounded Knee from the Gildersleeves for $1,000, Czywczynski has said he paid $750,000 for the land. RELATED: Mad As Hell: The Man Looking to Sell Wounded Knee
After the meeting, Czywczynski told Native Sun News he did not have any comment other than he would seriously consider the offer.
“The meeting went well and I believe this is a win-win for everyone,” Brewer told ICTMN.
In the interim, nobody has heard anything from Depp about buying the land, something he said he’d like to do during an interview with the Daily Mail. RELATED: Owner of Wounded Knee Eager to Sell to Johnny Depp
“Not a word. Everybody keeps asking me,” Czywczynski said. “I have a friend trying to get through to his publicist to see if this is legitimate or if it is a hoax. All of the journalists are calling me from all over the country even the New York Times, and the Denver Post… Nothing yet.”