Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

New Comedy Show Pushes Barriers and Breaks Down Stereotypes

By Monica Whitepigeon, Native News Online

Native people have endured countless atrocities, survived plagues, withstood erasure, mended community trauma and still manage to laugh it off. Humor is a powerful tool when it comes to survival and healing, which is why some Natives are bringing NDN humor to American sitcoms.

At Peacock Original, Indigenous creatives are pushing the barriers and breaking down stereotypes with the new comedy show Rutherford Falls.

Showrunner and co-creator Sierra Teller Ornelas (Navajo) teamed up with primetime alums and executive producers Michael Schur (Parks & Recreation, The Good Place) and Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) to develop the series.

“This is the most organic and collaborative thing I’ve ever been a part of,” said Schur, who met Ornelas while working on the comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The three spent nearly a year developing the concept that presents contemporary Native narratives in humorous ways while acknowledging the murkiness of America’s history with its original people.

“We’re doing this for the aunties,” Ornelas claimed during a Q&A with LA Skins Fest. She explained that many ideas blossomed from her previous Native anthology works, and several of the show’s characters were inspired by her mother’s time at Indian art markets.

(…)“I think comedy is one of the more powerful mediums in media. Being able to do this with a group of other Natives is the dream.”

Ornelas felt blessed to see this project come to fruition and have such a receptive team/audience. She is encouraged to see other Native storylines being told.

“We’re not the only Native show coming out. It’s a really monumental time for Native people,” said Ornelas.

Read the full story here.