By Dan Jones
I really do hope that Depp has a good experience out of all this Lone Ranger business. He can do a lot to help us by shining a light on all kinds of issues in Indian country, and now that he is one of us, he carries the spirit and the responsibility. I think he might have been blown away by all the criticism, but he did ask for it. I was reading some of his interviews and the problem became very apparent—he doesn’t know much about Indians. Not that he has to, he just has to be able to act like an Indian, but check out what he said. Speaking about the painting he took his inspiration from for Tonto said this, “It just so happens, Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top,” Depp revealed. “I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”
Ponca leader thinks Depp is now a full-fledged Comanche citizen with voting rights, etc. Too bad there's no evidence of it.
Unless the "adoption" makes him a Comanche citizen with voting rights, casino profits, etc., Depp still isn't an Indian.
The key line in Jones's piece is:
When the Comanche people, speaking through their duly elected government, declare Johnny Depp to be one of them, I'll concede the point. But LaDonna Harris isn't the Comanche people. As far as I know, she has no authority to make unilateral tribal membership decisions. And the Comanche government hasn't addressed the issue.
Chairman's presence makes it official?
This led to more discussion on Facebook:
So, leadership was aware....
"Leadership was aware" means the leadership thought it was nice that Harris was conducting her own personal ceremony and bringing good publicity to the tribe. That's not the same as legally ratifying her adoption and enrolling Depp as a tribal member.
If the entire tribal council attended and had an ad hoc vote to ratify Harris's adoption, then you might have something. As far as I know, that didn't happen.
Enrollment usually happens through a committee that examines a person's genealogy and then votes on whether to accept him or her. Right? As far as I know, most tribes don't allow individuals to bypass this process by hold adoption ceremonies for non-Indians. Or by waving magic wands over them.
In conclusion, Jones is wrong. Until Depp is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, he isn't an Indian. He's still a white man with a small amount of Indian "blood."
For more on the subject, see The Magical Power of Adoption and Questioning Depp's Comanche Adoption.