LaDonna Harris and Johnny Depp at the ceremony during which Depp was adopted by the Comanche Nation.

Johnny Depp Adopted Into Comanche Nation


Actor Johnny Depp, who will play Tonto in the upcoming film version of The Lone Ranger, has been adopted by the Comanche Nation. The character of Tonto, in this latest telling of the story, is said to be Comanche—a bit of information that LaDonna Harris, an esteemed Comanche who is president and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), found very interesting. "Johnny is reprising the historic role of Tonto, and it seemed like a natural fit to officially welcome him into our Comanche family," Harris said, according to a release. "I reached out, and Johnny was very receptive to the idea. He seemed proud to receive the invitation, and we were honored that he so enthusiastically agreed." The traditional ceremony took place on May 16 at Harris's home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Comanche Nation Chairman Johnny Wauqua was on hand, as were AIO’s staff and close family members. At the end of the ceremony, in accordance with tradition, Depp gave gifts to the attendees as a sign of gratitude. "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." The Lone Ranger, which is currently filming, is being directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and is set for a May 31, 2013 release. The Depp-Verbinski-Bruckheimer team previously collaborated on three films in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Johnny Depp, LaDonna Harris, and Johnny Waqua

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davidcornsilk's picture
Submitted by davidcornsilk on
So how is promoting a white guy in a job that could and should have been held by an Indian actor providing "Indian opportunity" Ms. Harris? Did Harris and the Comanche chairman ask the members of the Comanche tribe how they feel about this adoption? This looks to me like a couple of starstruck Indians and a wannabe trying to justify playing an Indian.

heatheranne's picture
Submitted by heatheranne on
This makes me smile :)

husbandofmoonlight's picture
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
Cannot agree with you more----My Brother--UNLESS The "new" Lone Ranger is a "mocumovie"---such as "blazing saddles"---or a "mocumentary" ---since the original "novel" was a hilariously stupid version of any reality---and the TV series with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels (a "Canadian Mohawk)----was a "cold war" subliminal message---to the viewer--"former enemies--"a Cowboy and and Indian"---"get together" to make life easier for those "white folks back home"-----so "help fight those commies by making friends with our former enemies"----and the "White folks of america ate it up with spoons"--- AS for "being adopted"----that makes a mockery of being "Tribal"---but then; so many "tribal peoples" are desperate these days--unless of course they have casinos---then they become "ruthless"---and "kick their members out that they don't want---and "get extra money for it". As for the Comanche, they don't have a "casino" so maybe "adopting a mediocre actor will help"---I mean after all this IS "amuraca ain't it?" You know the "land of the free (or is that free land of the??)and the home of the brave"---who lie, cheat, and steal everywhere they go. Also, a turn of the century estimate of the "Comanche population" (1901 Beureau of Ethnology" determined that the Comanche nation numbered slightly less than 3000---with an estimated 15% of them being "captives" who were later adopted---or "mixed bloods" from those uunioins---there numbers have increased to approx 10K now----so maybe that tactic is effective------(I would suggest that Mr. Depp---who makes as much a ninety million per film---PAY for his adoption---and the "price" would reflect the "value" of the "membership" by the "ONES DOING THE ADOPTING" but, that is me and I can't speak for anyone else who is a "Comanche"*--- Mr. Depp I suppose will be taking Nahuatl language lessons soon I'm sure also----------------------- * My "Tanima" (Liver Eater Band) Comanche ancestors were listed as "extinct" by the "BOE" in 1900---they just "failed to notify us of it"....."Go figure " Good Luck America------you really need it.

marynewton's picture
Submitted by marynewton on
this is awesome like johnny depp what a great honor for him!!! cant wait to see the lone ranger i grew up watching the t.v. show i know johnny depp will be great playing tonto he is the most gifted and best actor on the planet!! one beautiful talented man!!! bless you johnny my favorite actor!!!!

citationsii's picture
Submitted by citationsii on
yes, johnny depp gets around, why just recently he was here in Puerto Vallarta....but, no memberships freely given out in this part of country! So, now with tribal ID in hand, will we see him compete for Indian Health Service care, future burial entitlements, exemption of sales taxation, and assorted other tribal benefits........ As full-blood enrolled Native myself, giving memberships out like gift certificates at Walmart is both comical and somewhat sad.....!! And, gifts back to host family,,,new BMW for Le Donna and full political support/funds for Senor Wauqua's next tickets for AMC theaters.....good grief !!!! is there room in the adoption line for favorite,,,,,,,Donald Duck??? I mean, Donald has longer staying influence than Johnny Depp, now a full-blood enrolled Comanche!!!

cinlee12's picture
Submitted by cinlee12 on
This a a travesty when there are thousands of true bloods that can't and won't ever be recognized by any nation. This stinks to high heaven. Where is the honor in this? Because he is celebrity? Adopt all of us then! And for the record I know he has blood. My people are on rolls and my family is outcast. This really strikes a cord in my soul. Good for you Johnny. Wish I was rich and famous.

rickyogima's picture
Submitted by rickyogima on
I too would be tempted to adopt Johnny into the Ojibwa people just to meet a celebrity and have thousands look at my photo but then again, the people wouldn't be looking at me, lol

husbandofmoonlight's picture
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
You may wish to contact us; North American Intertribal Misssions at the following; we may have some answers for your "soul's cord"----------just mention this article. "Information is knowledge; knowledge is power"---shaka zulu Husband of Moonlight

citationsii's picture
Submitted by citationsii on
Commanche chair better provide leadership so banks stop freezing all their tribal accounts, rather than hanging around men wearing eye lining makeup !!!

rhonsixtyfour's picture
Submitted by rhonsixtyfour on
Well now isn't that special.

comanchendn's picture
Submitted by comanchendn on
sorry to make you unhappy but the Comanche Nation has 4 casinos 2 or in Lawton one in Walkrs OK and one close to the TX and OK line I am Comanche and was up there this past weekend for the 21st Comanch Natione fair and guess who was there Depp there is alot of us that or a little upset about this

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
I find this troubling. What has Mr. Depp done for Native peoples so great that he has now been adopted into a tribe as a great honor? For a tribe to adopt anyone into their membership is saying someone has done something for a tribe for many years out of the goodness of their heart. To be adopted by any tribe generally reflects that a person is found worthy of such an honor. I know folks with loads of Native blood who do not have a CDIB & haven't been adopted into a tribe. Now here comes a movie star & gets adopted by one of our native peoples for what exactly? Elders, council members, this troubles me. What about you brothers & sisters far & wide?

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Blood quantum is a joke! "Paper quantum" that says you have "X amount of Indian blood" has destroyed the Tribal hearts and souls over 250 yrs, great blood lines have been frauds and some people pretend to be Indian... others can't enroll because of No proof... or miss informed census rolls. Casinos and Reservation lands has caused genocide amongst all Indian families to fight against what is best for all the Tribal people… Johnny Depp, maybe you can use your “fame” to change the minds of the real Indians and fix the laws of America to repair what has been just wrong for so many years. I can’t have a eagle feather to practice my heritage it is a federal law, and my ancestry has been hijacked by wannabe Indians. I am the real blood line of Rain-in-the face.

Cathy Deschu's picture
Cathy Deschu
Submitted by Cathy Deschu on
He didn't have any pants without holes in them? The natives are very well dressed and he looks like he just finished working in the garage.

Billy Altaha's picture
Billy Altaha
Submitted by Billy Altaha on
This is purely awesome. Whether others don't like this, personally I think it's very generous of the Comanche Nation to adopt Johnny Depp like this. He may not be a full-blooded Native American but his acting is always great. He's also a very humble person and nice to accept this invitation from Ms. Harris. Adopt: meaning taking in or making apart of.... personally this is a very nice gesture from a Native American Tribe. Thanks Indian Country Today for sharing this story. side note: I'm a Native American and I don't have any problem with this. I'm a fan of Johnny Depp and Native that's it. Disclaimer: I don't speak for any tribe/s.

Genie R's picture
Genie R
Submitted by Genie R on
Johnny Depp got adopted into the Comanche nation by LaDonna Harris at her home in Albuqueque, NM? OMG, I live in Albuqueque and would have loved to see Johnny. He is one talented actor and what a sexy man. I'm crazy about him.