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Comanche tribe makes Johnny Depp honorary member

The Associated Press, Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 3:01pm (PDT)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Johnny Depp has been made an honorary member of the Comanche tribe.

Depp is in New Mexico, shooting the film adaptation of "The Lone Ranger." He plays "Ranger" sidekick Tonto in the film.

Comanche Nation tribal member LaDonna Harris said Tuesday that the tribal chairman presented Depp with a proclamation at her Albuquerque home May 16. She said the Comanche adoption tradition means she now considers Depp her son.

Harris said Depp seemed humbled.

His spokeswoman, Jayne Ngo, confirmed the actor participated in a ceremony, but she declined to provide details.

Harris said she had read in interviews that Depp identified himself as being part Native American, so she thought it would be fun to adopt him — a tradition she says is common in Comanche culture. She ran the idea past her adult children, and they agreed.

Harris said she reached out to the "Dark Shadows" star through a friend who is working as a cultural adviser on the "Lone Ranger" set.

The Comanche Nation is based in Lawton, Okla. About half of its 15,000 members live in southwestern Oklahoma.

Depp has been the topic of much discussion in Indian Country and online since he was cast as Tonto, with comments ranging from his costume, to the selection of a non-Native for the part, to how the role itself has historically epitomized Hollywood's misrepresentation of Native culture.

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