New Tonto, familiar feelings for Native Americans

SEATTLE (AP) -- To most people, the upcoming "Lone Ranger" movie is just a Disney blockbuster featuring action, adventure and Johnny Depp looking over-the-top.

But to Native Americans, it's personal.

The making of the movie, and the announcement that Depp portrays sidekick Tonto, have reawakened feelings about a character that has drawn criticism for being Hollywood creation that spread stereotypes.

The film is in production, but Indian Country has been abuzz for months, with some welcoming a fresh take on old characters. Parts were filmed on the Navajo Nation with tribal support, and an Oklahoma tribe recently made Depp an honorary member.

For others, the film represents a sore spot -- one that goes back to the 1950s television version of Tonto, who spoke pidgin, wore buckskin and lacked any real cultural traits.

Print this article Back to Top