“Reservation Dogs” is a new series that follows four Native American teenagers growing up on a reservation in eastern Oklahoma. The show, written entirely by Indigenous writers, was picked up for development by FX and streaming by Disney+.
The show is a comedic coming-of-age look at characters who “spend their days committing crime, and fighting it.”
Taika Waititi of Maori ancestry and Sterlin Harjo, a member of the Seminole and Creek nation are the directors of this ground-breaking series. Both directors have an extensive list of films and projects, Waititi with “Thor Ragnarok”, and Oscar winner “JoJo Rabbit”, and Harjo with his documentary work in Native communities, giving them a platform.
In an interview to JoBlo.com, Harjo commented, “As longtime friends, it was only natural that Taika and I found a project together, and what better than a show that celebrates the complementary storytelling styles of our Indigenous communities––mine in Oklahoma and Taika’s in Aotearoa.”
Disney has a history of creating harmful and outdated images representing Indigenous people and communities. Pocahontas, the “red-man” in Peter Pan and Tonto from the Lone Ranger are just a few examples.
The issue being these characters are written and created by non-Indigenous people for the purpose of amusement and not based in reality. This has perpetuated decades of misrepresentation of Annishanbe people.
“Reservation Dogs” is the first of its kind, written and cast entirely of Indigenous people with such a high caliber of production and eventual release on streaming platform Disney+.
Production of “Reservation Dogs” has slowed due to COVID restrictions, but the series is set to premiere later in 2021.