7/18/12

The fallacy of "Native American" sensitivity

We've all heard or seen examples of 'Native Americans' going on about how they have been downtrodden, mistreated, stereotyped, crapped upon, and otherwise treated like Untermenschen by the Evil White Man.

Most of it, unfortunately, is true. Even the cracks about casinos, much less Wounded Knee and Sand Creek.

Then why would the Comanche Nation 'adopt' Johnny Depp, citing his role as Tonto in the upcoming re-do of "The Lone Ranger"?

Here is a very interesting bit of background on Depp and his role as Tonto:

Johnny Depp’s Tonto is Based on a White Man’s Painting of an Imaginary Native American

Here is an excerpt:

Depp has explained that the reason he wanted to portray Tonto was to counteract stereotypical images of Native Americans that have pervaded history.
"The whole reason I wanted to play Tonto is to try to [mess] around with the stereotype of the American Indian that has been laid out through history or the history of cinema at the very least."
One could argue that it is counter-productive to combat whitewashed stereotypes of Native Americans by dressing a white man up as another white man's fictional representation of a Native American ...

You see, Depp's portrayal of a "Comanche" warrior is based on Kirby Sattler's painting, "I am Crow."

And what does Sattler himself have to say about his "art"?

On his website, Sattler states "I am not a historian, nor an ethnologist," and notes that he hopes his paintings "satisfy my audience's sensibilities of the subject without the constraints of having to adhere to historical accuracy."

Apparently the genuine '... inseparable relationship between the Native American and their spiritual and natural world ...' isn't good enough for Sattler to display.

Yep. Depp is portraying a Comanche, based on a totally inaccurate figment of White Man Sattler's imagination, and no one, including the Comanche tribe, gives a rat's patootie. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The Comanche nation  --'The Lords of the Southern Plains' -- heirs to the legacy of the likes of Quanah Parker, Ten Bears, Buffalo Hump, Charles Chibitty  -- rather than start beating on the usual drums of outrage ... have endorsed it wholeheartedly by 'adopting' Depp. HispanicBusiness.com as well as a number of other 'news' outlets carried the story.

Kind of reduces all that formerly expressed righteous indignation to the level of so much meaningless and self-serving drivel, doesn't it.

And Sattler's explanation? So much pseudo-intellectual hogwash.

I wonder how much of a cut of the flick's profits them Injuns is a-gittin'?

I'm not worried about them taking umbrage over 'Injuns'. Maybe they'll adopt me and give me a cut of the casino profits?