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Johnny Depp Adopted by the Comanche Nation

Walt Disney Pictures

Johnny Depp: actor, father and … Comanche Indian? As of last week, yes, and it’s all thanks to his role as Tonto in ‘The Lone Ranger.’

Tonto is a part of the New Mexico-based Comanche Indians, and after the real-life group heard about Depp’s dedication to the role, it extended an invitation for him to join their tribe.

“It seemed like a natural fit to officially welcome him into [our family],” LaDonna Harris, a Comanche and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, told Indian Country. “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 ceremony at Harris’s home in Albuquerque took place on May 16, after which Depp followed tradition by bestowing gifts upon the tribal elders as a sign of gratitude. “Welcoming Johnny [this 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.”

It’s not the first blessing Depp’s gotten from a Native American community. Leaders from the Navajo Nation recently visited the Monument Valley set of ‘The Lone Ranger’ and expressed support for Depp and the filmmakers.

Johnny also has actual ancestral ties to another tribe — he’s previously said his great-grandmother was a Cherokee Indian.

“The whole reason I wanted to play Tonto is to try to [mess] around with the stereotype of the American Indian that has been laid out through history, or the history of cinema at the very least — especially Tonto as the sidekick, the Lone Ranger’s assistant,” Depp told EW. “As you’ll see, [my portrayal is] most definitely not that.”

‘The Lone Ranger’ is scheduled to hit US theaters in May of 2013.

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