Kevin Costner Had A Casino On Stolen Native Land
Kevin Costner has basically been in everything, from The Bodyguard to Waterworld to Field of Dreams and more. He was kind of like Hollywood’s Swiss army knife in the ’80s and ’90s, which was steadied by Costner’s dad-vibes of good moral fiber. Turns out that Costner might not be such a good guy after all, as he opened a casino on land that had been taken from Native Americans without their permission.
To understand how this all came to be, first, we have to talk a bit about America’s favorite pastime: screwing Native Americans over. It all started over the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, an attempt by the US Government to settle disputes between Natives and white people over land, which gave the Sioux people all the land between the Missouri River and Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains in exchange for basically almost all of the Great Plains. If you’re familiar with the history of “Whitey Backstabbing Native Part 600,” then you’ll know how much of a raw deal this was and would continue to be.
Eventually, the US government went “screw you, your land is ours now” after white settlers realized that the Black Hills had an assload of gold to be conveniently and quietly parted with back in the 1870s. So congress decided that shiny expensive things were worth more than Native Americans and their culture and promptly took it all back in 1877 with the “screw you, got mine” law.
It wouldn’t be until the 1980s when the Supreme Court decided to try and compensate the tribes for the lost land, but they reasonably rejected it, instead asking for the stolen land back — which never happened. This brings us squarely back to Kevin Costner, who bought a building in a town there and converted it to a casino. Then he tried to buy additional land nearby, much to the protest of said Sioux people that got screwed over. Costner, having been seen as sympathetic to Native struggles before, turned into a villain of the eyes of the same natives who had at some point admired him and even honored him with a ceremony and sacred garments and feathers.
If there’s any silver lining to this story, it’s that Costner’s casino did temporarily close in 2017 after a 26-year run due to reasons unrelated to Sioux protest–