In scouting between the lines of the trailer for the new The Lone Ranger movie (starring Johnny Depp as Tonto), we glean that Depp's portrayal of Tonto appears to be - in part - that of a Native Shaman. (Tread softly Johnny. Critics - and many natives - await in ambush.)
The image below is stated as that which Depp bases his portrayal of Tonto upon:
Kirby Sattler / Artist / Website: http://kirbysattler.sattlerartprint.com/
In the best interests of tabloid journalism ... questions - like smoke signals - do arise. And where there's smoke ....
Yet Depp's answers give us hope:
"One of the more curious aspects of the Tonto make-up is the series of black lines that run down his face. According to Depp, those lines are meant to symbolize the character’s emotional life. “There’s this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual,” Depp explained. “That makeup inspired me.”
The revitalized Tonto has been met with more than its fair share of criticism, much like Jack Sparrow was in the very beginning. No part of the character’s new look has been mocked as much as the crow that sits on top of his head, another inspiration from the Sattler painting. “It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top,” Depp said. “I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”
So far ... so good.