Johnny Depp Adopted by Comanche Nation; Should We Drop Charges of Redface?

Illustration for article titled Johnny Depp Adopted by Comanche Nation; Should We Drop Charges of Redface?

Despite the fact that Johnny Depp is supposedly "reinventing" the character of Tonto in the re-imagining of The Lone Ranger, the early buzz has been mixed, with accusations of Redface. But last week, LaDonna Harris, a Comanche and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, invited Depp to join the tribe.


"I reached out, and Johnny was very receptive to the idea," she told the website Indian Country. He seemed proud to receive the invitation, and we were honored that he so enthusiastically agreed."

Depp was inducted into the Comanche Nation. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

The ceremony took place at Harris's home, and Depp gave gifts to the attendees, as per tradition.
"Welcoming Johnny into the family in the traditional way was so fitting," Harris said. "He's a very thoughtful human being, and throughout his life and career, he has exhibited traits that are aligned with the values and worldview that Indigenous peoples share."

In addition, the Navajo Nation have given their blessing for the production to film on their land in New Mexico; and they've offered gifts to both Johnny Depp and costar Armie Hammer.

Illustration for article titled Johnny Depp Adopted by Comanche Nation; Should We Drop Charges of Redface?

It's still kind of strange that Depp's character wears a costume possibly based on a painting by the artist Kirby Sattler, who is not Native American, not a historian, not an ethnologist and purposely paints subjects that are not specifically of or about any one tribe. But if the Comanche people have no beef and the Navajo Nation is pleased, maybe we don't have the right to be flustered by the flick. Also, SPOILER ALERT, rumor has it, that in the script, Depp's Tonto might actually be a white guy hiding out, undercover, posing as an Indian. Meta. Whether or not Disney has the capacity to make an inoffensive movie out of the highly offensive TV series remains to be seen, but at the very least, it seems like Depp — who has always claimed to be part Cherokee or Creek — is trying his damndest to do this properly, conscientiously and respectfully. All I know is I'd feel so much better if Sherman Alexie weighed in.

Johnny Depp Adopted by the Comanche Nation Indian Tribe [The Hollywood Reporter]

Related: Johnny Depp Adopted Into Comanche Nation [Indian Country]
The Lone Ranger Photos: Johnny Depp Embraces Navajo Nation [Movie Fanatic]
Johnny Depp Receives Gifts from 'Star Struck' Navajo Visitors [People]


Earlier: Johnny Depp Takes Tonto Character From Racist to Merely Culturally Insensitive


Kat Callahan

I'm not even remotely Native American. I have many small bits of ethnicities (although I am vast majority Irish), that is NOT one of them. Therefore, I feel my best comment is to say I don't have one. This is between Native American groups and Johnny Depp.

Also, just like any culture/ethnicity, Native Americans have a right to determine "immigration procedures" for a lack of a better word. If the Comanche community has accepted Depp, then Depp is a Comanche. John Ross was a Cherokee and was 7/8th Scottish, but he was Cherokee by Cherokee law (Bird clan, if I recall correctly).