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Reservation Dogs

TLO Rez Recaps: “Deer Lady” (3.3)

RESERVATION DOGS — “Deer Lady” — Season 3, Episode 3 (Airs Wednesday, August 9th) — Pictured: (l-r) D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear, Kaniehtiio Horn as Deer Lady. CR: Shane Brown/FX.

It’s the third—and, sadly, final—season of Reservation Dogs, the critically lauded series by Sterlin Harjo that shows it’s truly a good day to be Indigenous!

In the season opener—with two episodes, natch—we find the Rez Dogs and chaperone Teeny coming back to the rez, with various conversations about the future and their place in it. While most of the plans cast in stone, it looks like Bear is still his own, with an alien sympathizer in tow.

With this final season, I recap each episode of the show for those who are (and are not) watching, giving the basics, and not spoiling anything too much for you.

Skoden? Stoodis!


Episode 3: “Deer Lady”

The Plot: In days past, Indigenous children are taken to a boarding school, where they are tortured by the nuns and other caretakers. One girl, who becomes the Deer Lady, is taken to the school and suffers the order’s brutal hand of discipline.

In the present day, the Deer Lady comes upon Bear on her travels. Offering him pie and water at a diner, she gives him a lift to Okern but, on the way, she has to make one stop: at the house with an elderly man who, as we learn, was associated with the boarding school.

RESERVATION DOGS -- “Deer Lady” -- Season 3, Episode 3 (Airs Wednesday, August 9th) — Pictured: Kaniehtiio Horn as Deer Lady. CR: Shane Brown/FX.

The Review:  My grandfather, who I never knew, was taken with his brother to a boarding school for Indigenous kids. They were beaten every day, until, finally, they escaped to his grandmother’s house in Indian Territory, where he became a part of the Indian police force.

According to my long-deceased father, my grandfather never talked about the boarding schools mostly because of the shame they felt and all they left behind.

Written by Sterlin Harjo, this is the most important episode of Rez Dogs, bringing to light the monumental abuse and even murders that indigenous youth endured just for being indigenous. You can’t take that away and you can’t erase it.

As I openly wept during the atrocities committed depicted in this episode, the crimes committed are true and, even worse, still unsolved because in America—white America—they pretend that they never existed.

As much as they are swept under the rug, these atrocities will never be forgotten by the Indigenous community, and now thanks to Reservation Dogs and Sterlin, the memory of these forgotten children will endure.

Best Line / Funniest Moment: With the dark subject matter presented here, there is no “funniest” moment. And really, there shouldn’t be.

Oklahoma Soundtrack Pick: Mali Obomsawin – “Lineage”


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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