How Peacock's Rutherford Falls Is Bringing Indigenous Stories to the Forefront

The cast of Peacock's Rutherford Falls told E! News how the series manages to balance comedy with modern-day Native stories.

By Paige Strout Jun 16, 2022 2:00 PMTags
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Rutherford Falls' Minishonka tribe might be fictional, but the Native representation is real.

The Peacock original series finds its charm in balancing comedic moments with authentic Indigenous representation—a goal that star and writer Jana Schmieding, who plays Reagan Wells, said was easy for the show's creative team to accomplish.

"These are daily experiences that we have in our lives, so it's very easy for us to make comedy about it because we're already laughing about it with each other," the actress exclusively told E! News. "It's just a matter of giving it some context, which I think we did in the first season."

After establishing the identity of the titular town and its Native tribe in season one, Schmieding said that in season two—which drops Thursday, June 16—the show is "really just having a good time and exposing some of those inner community situations that happen in Native lives."

2022 TV Premiere Dates

In addition to Schmieding and the show's many Native actors—including Michael Greyeyes, Devery Jacobs and season two addition Dallas Goldtooth—the series has just as much representation offscreen, boasting one of the largest Indigenous writers' rooms in Hollywood.

As Schmieding told E! News, "Getting to collaborate with Native people professionally has been a rarity for me in my adult life. To be doing it professionally and creatively, to be bringing in people from the community to work with costumes and to collaborate with props—I don't know how else to say it except for the joy of my life."

Greg Gayne/Peacock

Whether it's through discussions about the town's land rights or the items displayed in Reagan's Minishonka Cultural Center, actor Dustin Milligan—who plays Regan's ex, Josh Carter—said the show emphasizes the importance of presenting Indigenous stories to new audiences.

"There's a lot of things that are very current about what we talk about on this show," Milligan told E! News, including how many Native Americans struggle to find a balance between traditional practices and modern-day life. 

He continued, "I think it's just such a wonderful way to be introduced and exposed to these stories, and just have it be seen in a modern current lens and not a monolithic kind of way where you just see how many different voices, how many different stories there are to tell, and still to be told. It's very unique and it's something that I think we're really lucky to be a part of."

Season two of Rutherford Falls premieres June 16 on Peacock.

(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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