Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois says he is transferring the deeds to a $4m (£3.2m) house, owned by his family's corporation since 2006, to a non-profit organisation controlled by the Native American Lenape tribe.

The eccentric architectural historian, who is also an activist for Native American causes, says he feels rage about the "theft" of land by white people perpetrated against non-whites.

Bourgeois, 76, who is the son of the late sculptor Louise Bourgeois, told the New York Post: "I have a romance with the history of the city, and I have been generally appalled that the land that the city is on has been taken by whites.

"This building is the trophy from major theft. It disgusts me."

He added that he feels "rage against what whites have done and some guilt, no, a lot of guilt, that I have profited from this major theft.

"The right thing to do is to return it," he said.

Bourgeois said he was introduced to Ramapough Lenape Nation chief, Anthony Jay Van Dunk, after he met a Cree, Joseph Scabby Robe, at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

He told Robe that he wanted to give the land on which his house sits, in New York's fashionable West Village, to the Lenape Tribe, as they originally inhabited land around New York and New Jersey.

Of the decision to give the house to Van Dunk, Bourgeois said: "[Van Dunk] represents the tribe and I represent the whites."

The house will be used as a patahmaniikan, or prayer house, used to help indigenous people reconnect with their language and traditions, Van Dunk said.

Bourgeois had recently returned from Standing Rock, North Dakota, where he had been protesting against the proposed pipeline near an Indian Reservation. He said he had donated $600,000 to the Oceti Sakowin camp site, which is home to the protesters.