Blog: Why Johnny Depp as Tonto matters in Indian Country

Photo from Jerry Bruckheimer on Twitter

"It's been a week or so since the original photos of Johnny Depp as Tonto have surfaced, and the internet has been abuzz with Depp defenders and Depp defectors--and while the Native Appropriations community and my internet circle have been on the "oh dang, this is real bad for us" train, I've been surprised at how many people have basically told me and others with similar opinions to STFU and "get over it" (with also some more choice words than that...).

But I still stand by the fact that Tonto and his portrayal matter to Indian Country, and should matter to Indian Country. And here's why.

Defenders of Depp-as-rodeo-clown-Tonto's arguments basically boil down to the following: Tonto is a fictional character. The Lone Ranger is a fictional movie. Johnny Depp is a great actor. We should be glad to have him portray Tonto. No one thinks Tonto is representative of a real Indian. There are bigger things to worry about in Indian Country, this is so trivial it shouldn't even be an issue."

Get the Story:
Adrienne K.: Why Tonto Matters (Native Appropriations 3/16)

Related Stories:
Ray Cook: Don't take this Hollywood business too seriously (3/16)
Column: Tracking down the 'real' Indians who played Tonto (3/16)
Column: Johnny Depp, 'vague' Indian, plays Tonto on screen (3/8)

Join the Conversation