WASHINGTON — “We knew Native Americans were facing giant obstacles,” said Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, “but it was really amazing how all the problems the community was facing vanished when the new Lone Ranger movie featured Tonto as a protagonist instead of a dimwitted sidekick.”
Washburn cited how the fully fleshed-out Tonto character—played “magically” by Johnny Depp—managed to erase the fact that nearly fifty percent of Native American students do not graduate high school. “12% of American Indians die of alcohol related causes,” he said. “While we haven’t fully proved causation yet, we’re pretty sure that at least three quarters of these deaths are related to poor portrayals of Native Americans in cinema.”
Washburn said he was really excited to see how Depp’s self-proclaimed, culturally sensitive, portrayal of the American Indian would affect the fact that 14% of American-Indians’ homes do not have electricity, 20% don’t have modern plumbing, and a whopping 53% do not have telephones.
“The numbers won’t be in for a while,” Washburn explained, “but I would bet that all these problems are basically fixed. I mean, did you see how intelligent Tonto was in the new film?”
Washburn said he could not thank Depp enough for all the great work he did. With Native Americans’ crushing poverty, alcoholism, and educational issues resolved, Washburn says he is now free to tackle the last remaining obstacle facing America’s indigenous people: Native-American mascots.