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The protagonists of the new series "Reservation Dogs".
The protagonists of the new series Reservation Dogs. Photo: Reservation Dogs

'Reservation Dogs' the series out to break stereotypes about Native Americans

The comedy series Reservation Dogs premieres on Aug. 9 on FX, and tackles racial issues with the goal of breaking down stereotypes about Native Americans.

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Two indigenous filmmakers premiere on FX breaking stereotypes about Native Americans. Waititi and Serlin Harjo, both native filmmakers from Seminole, Oklahoma, created Reservation Dogs, as a series following four Native American teenagers and the trouble they get into while growing up in a rural Oklahoma town.

For the first time, it is a cable TV sitcom that features Native American writers, directors and characters.

"There have been 130-something years of filmmaking and we're finally showing ourselves as human beings, which shouldn't be radical, but it's pretty radical today."

The production and premiere of the new show comes just as Oklahoma's film and television industry is booming, and where criticisms of representation and inclusion of ethnic diversities continue to resonate far and wide.

"The idea of just wandering around the suburb or small community with nothing to do, wondering what the hell is in store for me and what I'm going to do with my life. That's the heart that drives these kids... a lot of teenagers around the world feel that way," said the Academy Award-winning director. 

The protagonists of Reservation Dogs are four teenage criminals living rough in Oklahoma, all of Indian descent. The series depicts the experience of non-white communities in the United States. The protagonists of the series try to start a successful life in California, and along the way, they will encounter rappers, superstitions and mischievous spirits.

The series creators, Waititi and Harjo, are longtime friends, but are collaborating for the first time on a project that, by their own account, came about after discussing what kind of show they would like to see. Waititi recalled that from these talks with his colleague "they came up with the idea about these kids who had become vigilantes to clean up their community."

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