According to a press release issued today by genealogy website Ancestry.com, Armie Hammer, the actor who plays the title role in Disney's upcoming western film The Lone Ranger, has Native American heritage.
The thrust of the release is that both Hammer and Johnny Depp, who plays Tonto, are descendants of "real American freedom fighters."
For Hammer, that means Cherokee, with "one of the earliest documented Cherokee leaders and known peace advocate, Chief Kanagatucko" way back in his family tree, according to Ancestry.com's researchers. Depp's justice-seeking relative was Elizabeth Key, the first woman in the North American colonies of African descent to sue for her slavery and win, in 1656.
Depp, who has faced criticism as a non-Native playing a Native character, has claimed American Indian blood — specifically a grandmother who was Cherokee or Creek. The Ancestry.com release does not address the issue of Depp's purported Native blood.