Depp supposedly admires and respects Indians, but he hasn't alerted the media hordes following him to any of the real issues facing Indian country. Neither has anyone else who supposedly cares about Indians. With all the attention-grabbing spectacles, Americans are missing the real work happening in Washington DC to improve our tribal nations' well-being.
Not coincidentally, here's an article on that very subject:
The Everlasting Fantasy of Native Americans
By Lise Balk King
The timing couldn't be more ironic, or telling, about how we choose as a nation to frame Native America. It is so much easier to add our $12 to the coffers of Disney and Depp in order to enter the debate about our fantastical American history.
What we really could, and should, be doing is paying attention to the real life and work being done to address our own historic holocaust. "This land is our land, this land is your land"? This land was their land, and how we choose to continue this sentimentalist view, and therefore keep our moral distance from responsibility, is right out of a Hollywood escapist fantasy.
Enter Depp to play Tonto, a "Native American" (quotes in deference to Native filmmaker Chris Eyre's observation on HuffPostLive, "I don't see anything Indian about him... what is it, the buckskin pants?") dreamed up by a white guy, and voila, everybody is talking about "Indians."
To wit, last week Obama signed an Executive Order establishing The White House Council on Native American Affairs. The establishment of this Council is to institutionalize the work done thus far by Obama and his top aides, including Jodi Gillette (Standing Rock Sioux), Special Advisor to the President on Native American Affairs and Charlie Galbraith (Navajo), deputy associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
In other words, don't just say people are talking about Indians but not the right ones. Note the responsibility of those who supposedly care, like Depp, to point attention in the right direction.
For more on how Depp has or hasn't helped Indians, see Lone Ranger Benefit for College Fund and Why Doesn't Depp Buy Wounded Knee?
Below: Johnny Depp shows he cares by making a welcoming video for the Gathering of Nations. Which cost nothing and took little effort.
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