Highlighting Native American Media: Reservation Dogs on FX

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The FX on Hulu comedy-drama show “Reservation Dogs” has been out for a year and is already having a huge impact on Indigenous-led entertainment.

The series produced by Sterlin-Harjo follows the lives of four indigenous teenagers from rural Oklahoma who spend their days committing crimes in an attempt to get to California. Harjo has received accolades in filmmaking almost exclusively over the past decade, having directed three narrative feature films and one documentary feature. His films have screened at Sundance and the Independent Spirit Awards, making Harjo’s foray into television even more notable as an Indigenous creator.

“Reservation Dogs” was established earlier this year in August on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is observed to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous people. According to United States today, the series features “an all-indigenous team of writers, directors and series regulars.”

Taika Watiti, who is best known for her work on Marvel projects such as “Thor: Ragnarok” and the Disney + TV series “The Mandalorian,” co-developed the project with Harjo but said that “people have to tell their own stories and especially from whatever region they come from”.

What makes the show even more unique is that there was a precedent set early on for casting unknown Indigenous actors. Lane Factor and Paulina Alexis, who play Cheese and Willie Jack respectively, were chosen via a local cast. Factor, the only Oklahoma native in the cast, word received that he got the part before he was 16.

There have not been many forms of positive representation of indigenous peoples. Statistically, the representation of Aboriginals and Aboriginals in the media was at its lowest level and the public’s perception of these communities was far from positive or respected. A show like “Reservation Dogs,” which portrays young Indigenous characters with story arcs and character development, alongside other popular shows like Peacock’s “Rutherford Falls,” provides a platform for Indigenous creators to have proven successful. that it is possible and necessary to give the green light to these projects.

While the series was renewed for a second season, Harjo also has other native-led projects, including a Netflix Native American basketball drama, “Rez Ball.”

The trailer for the show’s first season can be found here.


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