Johnny Depp painted his face white and put a bird on his head to play Tonto in The Lone Ranger. He based the look off a painting done by Kirby Sattler who isn’t a Native American or a historian and who purposely paints subjects not part of any specific tribe. Not only that but in the painting, the bird is flying behind the subject. In Johny Depp’s version, he decided the bird would be better suited as a hat.
Naturally, a few people got offended but now they’re not allowed to be because the Comanche Indian tribe, which Tonto is supposed to be a part of, has formally adopted Johnny Depp. They probably just heard Johnny Depp and called a group meeting to figure out how to milk some publicity out of this.
Last week, Depp was formally adopted by the Comanche Indian tribe, a New Mexico-based group of Indians to which Depp’s Tonto belongs. LaDonna Harris, a Comanche and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, heard about his film role and invited him 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.”
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.” THR
Johnny Depp lucked out because this is the equivalent of saying “I’m not racist against Native Americans, some of my best friends are Native American.” But in this case, the best friends are his adopted family who are using him for publicity.