Kevin Gover: Johnny Depp’s Tonto Isn’t Offensive, Just Weirdtags: Smithsonian, American Indians, Johnny Depp, Lone Ranger, Kevin Gover
I admit that I went to see “The Lone Ranger” expecting to be disappointed and quite likely offended by the portrayal of Indians in the movie. Both Disney and Johnny Depp, the star of the movie, had promised to remake Tonto, the iconic Indian from the television series of the 1950s. Mr. Depp’s Tonto, they said, would not be simply the “faithful Indian companion” to the title character. No, indeed. Mr. Depp’s Tonto, they said, would be the star of the movie, a character who would make Indians proud.
That is a lot to promise. Hollywood, after all, has been a leader in stereotyping and demeaning Indians. The Indians we have seen in the movies have largely been dim, hostile and violent. Along with the degrading practice of making Indians mascots for sports teams, Hollywood’s portrayals of Indians have created in the minds of much of the American public a thorough misunderstanding of how Indians were in the 18th and 19th centuries and how they are now. Much of our work at the National Museum of the American Indian is to challenge the misinformation and stereotyping about Indians to which the entire world has been subjected.
To show its bona fides, Disney actively sought tribal support for the project. It sponsored a thousand-dollar-a-ticket gala premiere, with the proceeds going to the American Indian College Fund. Mr. Depp himself was embraced by certain Indian tribes and organizations, was even “adopted” into the Comanche Nation, and appeared at a special premiere for Comanche citizens in Lawton, Oklahoma....
comments powered by Disqus
- New documentary explores the legacy of the 5,000 Rosenwald schools set up by a Sears magnate and Booker T. Washington
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- It happened in Idaho and was the largest massacre of Indians in US history, but where exactly did it take place?
- Junípero Serra’s Missions Destroyed Entire Native Cultures. And Now He’s Going to Be a Saint.
- Isis destruction of Palmyra's Temple of Bel revealed in satellite images
- Two scholars from UT object to the Texas school's decision to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis
- A history professor explains why Americans are so prone to conspiracy theories
- Now Greg Grandin has come out with a study of Henry Kissinger
- Japanese historian upends the familiar narrative of WW 2 by taking a bottom up approach, focusing on fascism from the grassroots
- Holocaust-denying historian David Irving organises 'disgusting' £2,000-a-head holiday tours of former concentration camps and Hitler's HQ so people can 'make up their own mind about the truth'