Wallace Coffey, Chairman of the Comanche Nation, announced that a special, advance screening of Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger” will be held in Lawton, Oklahoma, prior to the film opening nationwide on July 3. Coffey, who has endorsed Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger, says the Comanche Nation is hosting the special screening of the movie in conjunction with Disney and tribal leaders from the U.S. and Canada are coming to Southwest Oklahoma to see the film and spend an evening with members of the cast.

Disney’s The Lone Ranger, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Academy Award® winner Gore Verbinski, is a fresh, new look at the story of the Lone Ranger, which began as a radio show in the 1930s and then evolved into a popular TV show in the 1950s. In addition to the iconic Depp as Tonto, the film also stars Armie Hammer as the famed Lone Ranger, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter.

Johnny Depp, Chairman Coffey
Johnny Depp is flanked by Comanche Nation Chairman, Wallace Coffey, right, and the First Lady, Debbie

Commenting on the film, Coffey, who is serving his fifth term as tribal Chairman and is the great-grandson of Comanche leader Chief Ten Bears, says, “This is not a documentary of the Comanche Nation, this is entertainment; but Tonto resembles a true Comanche warrior of the past. The movie is a modern-day portrayal of a period piece, and is a portrayal of how Native Americans may have spoken during that era, when English was their second language" says Coffey.

Coffey explained the significance of the crow on Depp’s head in the movie as reflecting a traditional Comanche dance called the Tuhu Wii, which is translated to the Black Knife. This was an exclusive warrior society, identified by black shawls around the waist, painted faces, and the dance mimicked the crow, which is a symbol of warfare to the Comanche.

“Each warrior painted their face individually as a reflection of their spirituality and visions, and no one warrior painted their face the same,” says Coffey, who has participated in the Tuhu Wii dance by being a Point-Man.

Depp was adopted by tribal elder LaDonna Harris in May 2012 and traveled to the Comanche Nation headquarters in September to complete the adoption ritual. Keeping with the traditional Comanche ways, Depp was presented to the tribe and Coffey completed it by dressing him in Tuhu Wii-style attire, which is a reflection of his character in The Lone Ranger movie.

“I am curious to see how the citizens of the Comanche Nation respond to the Lone Ranger and Tonto bringing justice at a time when there was no justice,” sums up Coffey.

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