By Lee Longhorn
BIXBY, Okla.---- Johnny Depp will play Tonto in Disney's version of "The Lone Ranger" due out in 2013. Well, that's old news. The news that is buzzing around the internet is pictures of him dressed up as the sidekick and Armie Hammer is listed to be playing the Lone Ranger. Hammer's recent roles include playing the Winklevoss twins in "Social Network" and Clyde Tolson in Clint Eastwood's drama “J. Edgar”. Based on previous films I have seen these two in, albeit seperately, I do believe that this movie may actually work.
I like Johnny Depp as an actor. I first saw him in Edward Scissorhands. I have nothing against him, but the internet buzz that I've been seeing lately is that he's listed three different tribal affilations as his background. I've read that Depp has mentioned he may be Creek, Cherokee and possibly Navajo. Johnny, come on now. At the rate he's going, he may have more tribal affiliations than I do and that's saying something.
Johnny Depp isn't the first actor to claim American Indian heritage. In fact there are perhaps dozens who claim American Indian ancestry and direct lineage. With Depp's upcoming controversial role making headlines, I've compiled a list of my top favorite American Indian celebrities to watch.
5. Carrie Underwood
Not the biggest country music fan, but this Grammy Award-winning singer put Checotah, Okla., on the map when she won the 2004 American Idol contest. At the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Okla., they have Underwood listed as a Muscogee (Creek) descendant. Should Underwood continue to support these allegations, I believe the Muscogee (Creek) Nation should recognize her as a Muscogee (Creek) tribal member.
4. Channing Tatum
It's not that I actually like Channing Tatum. In fact, I haven't seen one of his movies all the way through. He's not on my favorite because of his acting but it's his back story that I always find myself laughing at. Tatum has stated in interviews that he is one-quarter Native American, but never lists the tribe. Biographies of him have stated he is from the Alabama region. In a January 2012 edition of USA Weekend, Tatum said that he was "35-40 percent Native American." He loses some credibility with me because if he said earlier that he's one-quarter then that would make his grandmother a full-blood. This 35-40 percent doesn't make very much sense. Tatum, am I going to have to teach you about fractions and percentages?
3. Tie betweens: Johnny Depp, Q'orianka Kilcher, Irene Bedard and James Garner. I had to put them all on the top list and they're a good bridge between my top and bottom picks.
2. Kristin Chenoweth
Native to Oklahoma, Chenoweth grew up in Broken Arrow, Okla., where she graduated high school and later attended and earned an undergraduate and graduate degree in music from Oklahoma City University. Chenoweth has been listed as being one-quarter Cherokee but was adopted. This Tony Award-winning actress may not "look" American Indian but she makes me proud to be from Oklahoma. She's like the Sam Bradford of Broadway, in a way.
1. The American Indian tribe of mice in Steven Spielberg's "Fivel Goes West"
I don't know what family language they are a part of or what region they were at in the movie but should this tribe ever seek federal recognition, I would be the first to support and lobby for them to gain it. Although I don't believe in them worshipping a cat or dancing around the desert with utentsils, I do believe that Spielberg may have found a lost tribe in the United States.