Are Taika Waititi’s reserve dogs based on a true story?

FX’s Reservation Dogs, co-created by Taika Waititi, follows teens on a Native American reservation, but is it coming from a true story?

Taika Waititi’s new series Dogs Reservation draws inspiration from the true nuances of modern Native American life in America, but is it based on a true story? Waititi has been touring blockbuster pop culture icons in recent years, ranging from mock documentaries to comedy-horror What we do in the shadows To The Mandalorian and lead the MCUs Thor: Ragnarok. With Waititi as co-creator and writer for the Dogs Reservation series, he made a name for himself outside of blockbuster fantasies for delving into the comedic aspects of everyday life.

Dogs Reservation takes its name from the detective film R by Quentin Tarantinoeservoir Dogs and the real phenomenon of wild or stray dogs, the “Rez Dogs”, in Native reserves. Taika Waititi’s show follows a group of four Native American teenagers living in rural Oklahoma who spend their days on a Native reservation committing and fighting crime. Mischievous native teens include Elora Danan Postak, Bear, Cheese, and Willie Jack, who come into contact with several recurring characters in their small community.


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While Reservation dogThe characters and misadventures of s don’t necessarily share specific real-life counterparts, the show is based on the true stories behind the educations of showrunner Sterlin Harjo and Taiki Waititi. According to Smithsonian magazine, Harjo and Waititi fondly remember their native childhoods for the way they handled their real and dramatic life issues through humor, so they transferred that mindset to their playful teenage characters. Instead of turning another Indigenous portrait into a tragedy, Dogs Reservation gives the true story of Indigenous life in America and references the deprivation of the modern franchise interspersed with the adventurous and fun life of teens.

Native Americans have been largely excluded from Hollywood apart from the racist and stereotypical depictions in westerns, so Dogs Reservation is a way for the co-creators to represent the real life of Indigenous people and reserves to a wider audience. Waititi is notable for including intense subjects in his comedy projects to emphasize that the stories he tells truly reflect real life, such as how his historic dramatic comedy Bunny Jojo is extremely comical but underlined by a heartbreaking portrayal of Nazi-era Germany. Just because the names of her characters and their lives aren’t necessarily translated from a specific story doesn’t mean they don’t reflect the true stories of an abundance of people.

To ensure that the representation of the lives of Indigenous adolescents in Reservation dogs isn’t limited to the experiences of Waititi and Harjo, the series’ writer’s room is teeming with Native American creatives. The spirits behind Dogs Reservation bringing to life characters and situations that they believe are universal among Indigenous communities, with almost all of the stories tied to how humor helped them survive the oppression of their people by the government. Names and faces may change to Dogs Reservation, but the stories and feelings come from a combination of real life experiences that grew up on Native American reservations.

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