Hulu original series, Reservation Dogs, showcases Native American voices

By Dahlia Alanis, Staff Writer

                                  Dahlia Alanis

The Hulu original series, Reservation Dogs, features four teenage characters living in
rural Oklahoma.

Trying to get out of the reservation, they do anything they can to get money. They steal and sell stolen products like a truck and copper to a group of “meth heads.” The main character Bear Smallhill, played by D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, begins to realize the bad things he and his group of friends have done. Bear begins to get visions about a Native American man who fought in the Little Bighorn battle. It’s funny because the man makes chants and preaches life lessons.

As the episode progresses, it splits off into what the individual characters’ background and life is like for them. They have some crazy adventures, like trying weed for the first time. Everyone thinks they’re in a gang as they are getting into fights.

It gets confusing, but I enjoyed getting to know the characters more. My favorite character, Jackie (Elva Guerra), is confident and funny. I found it really amusing that they added superstitions that Native Americans believe in, such as the risk of looking into the eyes of an owl, which represents death; In the scene they are cursing trying to avoid looking into that bird’s eye.

One of my favorite scenes is when a group of teenagers do a “drive-by,” although they are not using actual guns, but rather paintballs. The Reservation Dogs act very dramatic about it, I laughed very hard. It’s accurate to what life is like on the reservation for Native Americans who struggle to get out of poverty, especially when there is no help from a parent because they are working too much or have taken to substance abuse. And the grandparents are getting too old to take care of the children. Each episode has a sense of love, loss, and ritualization of coming of age. It breaks stereotypes and answers question from the culture.

The show is for a mature audience. Some of the scenes contain strong language and heavy topics about poverty, depression, loss of a friend. I recommend Reservation Dogs because it is a show that is important to the Native American culture. Its accurate representation of the lives of natives in reservations, along with its hilarious themes, cause it to be a show worth watching.