What Tribe Is ‘Reservation Dogs’ and Other Questions About the New FX Show

What tribe are the ‘Reservation Dogs’ from? Who are they?

FX on Hulu’s new show, Reservation Dogs, comes from co-creators and executive producers Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo. It’s a half-hour comedy show that follows four Indigenous American teens who live in rural Oklahoma.

The teens, Bear Smallhill (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor), are determined to find their way to California, a state that feels exotic and full of mystery from their small Oklahoma. However, the group of four friends used to be a group of five.

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According to the show’s synopsis, the fifth member of the Reservation Dogs group of friends, Daniel, died. The remaining four blamed his death on the small, boring town they live in, claiming the rural town has crushed their spirits. So to honor Daniel, they take on his dream of going to California, and that’s what they’re planning to do.

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The characters in Reservation Dogs aren’t identified as a specific Indigenous tribe, but the show was shot on the Muscogee Nation reservation in Oklahoma. The series has been praised by fans as being very authentic, which was essential to the showrunners.

“The real value in this show and the representation is the authenticity of it,” Jason Salsman, a Muscogee Nation spokesman, told AP News. “There have been so many years and instances of invisibility, mischaracterization, and misappropriation of Native culture in film and movies.”

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“As far as showing what Native people are like, we’re funny, we’re sad, we’re depressing, we’re interesting, we’re quirky, we’re everything. That shouldn’t be a radical thing that they’re showing us as human beings but it’s very radical and it’s about time in 2021,” co-creator Sterlin Harjo said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We’ve been a part of cinema from the very beginning, and we’ve never been portrayed in a realistic way. And it’s happening now and it’s … beautiful.”

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