We’ve written A LOT about whitewashing in our media here on the site but this time, it won’t be another post about the erasure of people of colour. HBO is creating a Lewis and Clark miniseries and have cast Tanaya Beatty from the Da’naxda’xw First Nation in Canada to play Sacagawea (a Shoshone native woman). That’s already fantastic news but on top of that, HBO has hired a tribal laision and advisor to the show: Yvonne Russo (Sicangu Lakota).
In light of the recent controversy surrounding Adam Sandler’s and Netflix’s “Ridiculous Six” production, where a group of Native American actors and extras stormed off the set in protest of what they said was stereotypically offensive content in the script, Russo said she hired 13 Native American consultants “representing each tribe depicted in the miniseries” to avoid such blunders.
Read more at Indian Country
Russo also comes from a film and television background (True Justice, Continuum, Arctic Air) so she’s well versed in the medium. This is all very exciting news and I highly recommend reading the rest of that article which discusses dialect coaches from each tribe and the series director traveling to the Shoshone Nation where Sacagawea’s relatives live. This is what we expect from Hollywood. The trying is so important and surrounding yourself with the right people to succeed in the trying. I’ve written a portion of the whitewashing posts on this site so to have the opportunity to write this particular news item up is reinvigorating. The production around the Lewis and Clark miniseries has chosen to do better and I hope that Hollywood takes notice.