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LaDonna Harris defends casting of Johnny Depp over an Indian

LaDonna Harris and Johnny Depp

Comanche Nation activist LaDonna Harris doesn't think it matters that a non-Indian is portraying Tonto in The Lone Ranger, which opens in theaters today.

Harris adopted actor Johnny Depp into her family. She said his star power was more important than casting an Indian in the role.

“There were a lot of complaints that he could’ve been [played by] an Indian, true, but then it wouldn’t have gotten the visibility that Johnny Depp could give it,” Harris told The Washington Post.

Depp has claimed Indian ancestry but has been vague about it.

Get the Story:
Depp’s Tonto: an upgrade on a stereotype or just an updated stereotype? (The Washington Post 7/3)
Will Disney’s new Tonto be any better? (AP 7/3)
UCLA professor says Depp's Tonto reinforces Native American stereotypes (The Examiner 7/3)

Related Stories:
Mary Pember: Johnny Depp taps into his inner Tonto in video (7/2)
NPR: Johnny Depp looking to 'right the wrongs' in Tonto role (7/2)
NYT: 'Lone Ranger' isn't Johnny Depp's first role as an Indian (7/1)
WSJ: Other White actors with Indian roles on the big screen (6/28)
Opinion: Native media ignored at 'Lone Ranger' press junket (06/24)
The Onion: Indian Country in love with Tonto in 'Lone Ranger' (6/20)
Interview with Sonny Skyhawk on Indian roles in Hollywood (06/12)
Opinion: Blatant racism in Tonto's portrayal in 'The Lone Ranger' (06/03)

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