It’s About Time Hollywood Got Something Right


Photo Courtesy of FX Network (from left to right) Paulina Alexis, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Lane Factor, and Devery Jacobs

Native Americans have always been looked at as savages and blood thirsty people in Hollywood films. We’ve seen it in the stereotypical cowboy versus indians films where the indians will run out and attack the heroic White man. However most of the time, the people who played an Indian in the film just painted their skin, wore war paint, braids and feathers.

The stereotyped Native American has finally come to an end with the new show Reservation Dogs. Through actual representation, real reservations and real life problems, Reservation Dogs fights the stereotypes and gives the Native community the limelight they deserved after all these years.

Reservation Dogs is a comedy film streaming on Hulu. It’s based around four indigenous teenagers Willie Jack, Elora Danan, Bear and Cheese who live in rural Oklahoma. They rob, steal and save money to make it out the reservation to California.

It has a 98% tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.2/10 rating on IMDB, and 80% rating on Google Users. “This show is great. It has so much to offer in the way of giving diversity an opportunity to be shown for Indigenous peoples but also the reality of what it is like for them as well.” said Sai Marie, one of the left reviews on Google.

Reservation Dogs has a majority real Native American cast as well as directed by a Native American.The four leads D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai who is Ojibwe, Devery Jacobs who is Kanien’kehá:ka Mohawk, Paulina Alexis who is Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, and Lane Factor who is Caddo and Seminole Creek. As well as the writers and directors Sterlin Harjo who is Seminole, Taika Waititi who is Maori, Bobby Wilson who is Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, and Sydney Freeland who is Navajo.

The cast gives amazing recognition to a lot of different Native American tribes. This is important because it shows people the difference of Native tribes in the U.S. Also just to acknowledge that there are vast of many tribes and not just one.

The show contains a lot of jokes surrounding Native humor. I personally felt a connection to the show just based on the language and characters. I live in an urban setting whereas when I go home to my Navajo reservation, it’s rural. 

We see the hardships, friendships, and humor of current Native communities. Even though it is a comedy, there is a lot of truth to it. Such as the poverty and family situations we see throughout the show. Many people don’t know how a Native reservation looks. A reservation consists mostly of the bare minimum of what a person needs to live. Because of this, there’s not many jobs and this leads people to lose their homes or worse.

This show has made me feel more included in society. It may just be the show, but it feels good to know there are other Native teenagers who I relate to. Each character has their own personality and lingo. That’s what makes it so special.

Many Native Americans have loved this show. They love the representation and unification of Native Americans in Hollywood. The writers and directors have changed history.

Hopefully now since the standards are set high for other Native films, we won’t be seeing any stereotypes from Hollywood.