This past summer the College Fund was the beneficiary of the ticket sales for the Lone Ranger premiere. The opportunity, of course, prompted great discussions about misappropriation and Native star power. It wasn’t an easy decision but I kept my focus on the tribal colleges students who benefitted through the scholarship funds raised by the event. Several Fund staff were able to attend the premiere which was awesome. The movie, not so much, although the actors are amazing and I recognize that Tonto is a fictional character. I wrote this poem after.
Lone Ranger: Reflections on a Star Trip
Studded red carpet winds across the California Amusement park
Stars poking out here and there
Hero worshiping fans lined deep
Along pretend white picket fences
With 24 hour waiting signs and cell phone cameras at the ready
Media hounds shout to the actors – turn right, look left, come closer
We wait to be recognized
Escorted to where invited Indians gather
In their modern day regalia
Women wearing facepaint
Men in top hats and beaded vests
I don’t know the actors
Lined up under signs with their names
Waved around by escorts
Where are our signs?
Send pictures to my granddaughter
Who knows Disney stars because she is 11
Disney’s target market
They shoot their arrows at them
I am disappointed although I don’t know why.
I hoped for a less silly Tonto
Johnny Depp plays him
A caricature of a sacred person
This a movie fraught with one-liners so moments of poignancy or heroic gestures are lost. I don’t usually use the word fraught, but it works here, signifying twists and turns that are seeking direction.
Native cultures mix
I am crow
Living among the Dine
From a dead people