This tallies with what I've said before about Disney's coming to Depp and greenlighting the film because of him. The Lone Ranger is a star vehicle for Depp. He's the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
He wasn't handed a script, a costume, and an interpretation of Tonto by others. He determined, controlled, or oversaw these things. If Tonto is stereotypical, it's because Depp wanted him that way. Depp gets the credit or the blame for the movie's portrayal of Indians.
Voelker still may be knowledgeable about Comanche history and culture, but there's no reason to assume he is. After all, many Americans don't know anything about US history.
Far from eliminating the "conflict of interest" question, this donation makes it worse. Voelker might've refused a personal payment, but he may feel obligated to save his eagles at any cost. Therefore, he wouldn't criticize his financial backers even if they were wrong.
So Voelker was given a fait accompli. He was asked to say yes or no to a multimillion-dollar production, with Disney's funding of his eagle foundation on the line. Wow...talk about a situation guaranteed to produce a desired outcome.
There's a strong implication that Voelker invented his "bird culture" comment to mollify Depp and company. We're supposed to believe that eagles are like crows and wearing eagles feathers is like wearing a crow headdress. Sorry, no sale.
Again, it strains credulity to claim that Tonto's look, which Depp got from a non-Comanche fantasy painting, just happens to represent Comanche culture perfectly. No one's ever seen a Comanche in a headdress or face-paint like Tonto's, so it must be an incredible coincidence.
Again, show us the evidence. I don't take the word of someone who isn't a Comanche historian and has a clear conflict of interest.
See previous comments about his conflict of interest. A real adviser would've said something about this.
Indeed, he would've threatened to go public with his displeasure unless Depp and company changed it. How can you claim to be a Comanche expert when you let a gross falsification of your culture pass without comment?
If you're gonna take the job, then do the job. Don't shill for the company like a spin doctor and expect us to accept it.
Presumably because Depp knows his unsubstantiated story about having a Cherokee ancestor would've come under increased scrutiny.
The Comanche Nation also gave Depp a certificate saying he's an honorary tribal member. But Harris's adoption ceremony got the most publicity, with people claiming Depp was now a full-fledged tribal member. Wrong.
Then there's the whole bit about Tonto's Giant Nuts, Johnny Depp's band. This name is about as respectful as Ted Nugent's wearing a headdress in concerts. It shows zero appreciation of Depp's alleged Cherokee ancestry. Indeed, it shows zero appreciation of anything except a stereotypical notion of Indians as macho warrior types.
For more on Johnny Depp, see Depp's Tonto: True or False? and Hammer Says Indians Love Depp.