On Wednesday, Yellowstone and 1923’s Mo Brings Plenty, Michael Spears and Cole Brings Plenty visited the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. for a well-deserved screening and discussion of the prequel’s powerful Native American representation.
At the center of the discussion were the true-to-life scenes of Teonna Rainwater’s (Aminah Nieves) Catholic boarding school. This brutal, tragic piece of American history is rarely, if ever portrayed on screen. But 1923 changed that.
“I would not be here today if not for the resilience of my ancestors and those who came before me—including my grandparents, who are survivors of federal Indian Boarding Schools,” said U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, Kansas, during the panel.
“Bringing awareness to the struggles and history of Native communities, whether through legislation in Congress or through powerful storytelling like in 1923, helps all of us better understand the federal government’s role in US assimilationist practices and policies. I’m glad we were able to have this important conversation today and look forward to more in the future,” Davids celebrated of the show and its real-world impact.
The Impact of ‘Yellowstone’ and ‘1923’
During the event, Rep. Davids, who is also on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus Representative, presented a powerful panel discussion with members of the cast and crew from Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, TV’s #1 show, and Paramount+’s critically acclaimed drama series 1923.
Deborah Parker, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, would moderate the panel. Additionally, Senator Jon Tester kicked off the event with opening remarks at the United States Visitor Capitol Center.
Franchise MVP Mo Brings Plenty, who fans know and love as Mo on Yellowstone and who also serves as cultural advisor for 1923, was a featured panelist. His nephew, Cole Brings Plenty, who plays Pete Plenty Clouds on 1923, was also present, as well as Michael Spears, the powerful force behind Runs His Horse on 1923.
A viewing of the first episode of 1923 would follow their discussion. In the first episode of the Yellowstone prequel, franchise creator Taylor Sheridan delves deeply into the forced assimilation of Indigenous American children by Christian boarding schools, painting a brutally-truthful picture of how these schools were run, and how it tarnishes the American legacy.
‘We thank the creators of 1923 for writing storylines that help reveal dark, untold truths about American history’
Within, Teonna suffers relentlessly at the hands of Sister Mary (Jennifer Ehle). Our entire venture through the boarding school as they retaliate against one another is a violent, tough watch. But it a necessary retelling of history that is still impacting Americans today.
Teonna later details how she, nor anyone in their school, ever hear from friends or family who have graduated. Thousands of Native children would die in these schools across North America.
“We thank the creators of 1923 for writing storylines that help reveal dark, untold truths about American history,” adds Deborah Parker (Tulalip), CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.
“The abuse depicted on the show is hard to watch, but it happened to so many Native children who were forced to attend boarding schools. I hope viewers of the show understand that the trauma our ancestors were subjected to continues to affect every Indigenous person in this country today,” Parker offers.
The first season of 1923 is available to stream in full on Paramount+. A second season is also in the works.