Ungelbah Daniel-Davila: Johnny Depp, stereotyping and Tonto

"Everyone in Indian country is in an uproar about Johnny Depp playing Tonto in the upcoming flick, The Lone Ranger, but for the wrong reasons.

From what I’ve read online, most people are outraged by the decision to have a non-Native portray a supposedly Native character — a legitimate objection considering Hollywood’s track record when it comes to casting Native roles with any kind of integrity.

And then there are some Natives out there who are in the camp of, “It’s just entertainment, who cares.” Of course, as the opposition will argue, we care because for as long as Indigenous people have been a presence (or lack of presence) in media, beginning with the Romantic literature of the 1800s, a certain Native image has been created and sold by non-Natives with little to no understanding or compassion for the cultures they represent. The result of this, as I have written about before, has been identified as cultural appropriation and genocide."

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Ungelbah Daniel-Davila: Regarding Johnny Depp’s Portrayal of Tonto (Indian Country Todya 5/19)

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