‘Reservation Dogs’ is a rare Native American voice on TV. We still do not have enough media that would offer an honest representation of indeginous community from their own perspective.
Obviously inspired by the title of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ this tv series also starts like a gangster movie but soon we see that there is much more to it that meets the eye. The gang war is just an excuse to show real life in reservation where there is not much hope for the future. Four young protagonists: Bear, Elora, Cheese and Willie Jack, plan to leave their home place and move to Los Angeles, California to fulfill their dreams. They are ready to do whatever it takes to get away from rural Oklahoma.
Bear, who thinks of himself as a leader of this group, after being beaten up by a competitive gang, starts to see the spirit of an Indian warrior who sees himself as his guide and starts giving Bear advice and asking him questions so he can find his own way in life. Others also have their support in the form of either the parents (Willie Jack), grandmom (Elora) or Lighthorse Big (Cheese). The latter one is a good hearted tribal policeman who can see supernatural things and tries to always give everybody a second chance.
Familiar with the supernatural is also Elora’s uncle Brownie. He single-handedly stops the hurricane from destroying the village and holds the record of knocking the record number of people during a bar fight. The gang wants him to teach them how to fight but he passes much more knowledge to them during their time together. Add the duo of rappers Mose and Mekko to the mix (Lil Mike and Funny Bone in real life) and you get an explosive mixture of humor and sad reality. And that is what real life is like – sometimes funny and sometimes sad.
This series shows us the life of young Native Americans who were born to this reality where their homeland was taken away from them and they are living in poverty, without many possibilities of development or change. The colonizers moved into their house, trashed it down and locked their ancestors in the basement. And now they are let out to see how the place was destroyed. It’s important for us to see their stories and to let the voiceless get their voices heard. After the big change that happened for the Afro Americans and Asian Americans, Native Americans are still the least visible minority in the media. Representation is very important and it’s time for this to change.
At the end of the first season half of the gang decides they do not want to leave their homes and the other half split in disagreement. They have been through a lot lately, loosing their best friend Daniel to suicide and they are just trying to navigate their life the best they can. Don’t we all?