It will be another five months before the third season of the hit television series “Reservation Dogs,” filmed in Oklahoma airs.
But the theme of bringing together classic Native American actors and young talent for Indigenous representation in the teen comedy and drama is set.
Oklahoman Lane Factor stars as ‘Cheese’ and takes part in a quest to California after the death of the fifth member of his teenage friend group. Full of adventures both criminal and comical, the series follows each member of the ‘Rez Dogs’ in their own paths of grief and growth.
Factor, who grew up in Midwest City, is a citizen of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and is also Creek and Seminole.
“Since the release of seasons one and two, there’s been an increase in Native representation in the media and I couldn’t be happier,” Factor said during a telephone interview.
“People from Oklahoma have a lot of positive comments about it being filmed here, and they can relate to the adventures of the characters and the environment. It hits home to know the show is filmed here because many people see actors on the show that they personally know.”
After the show took off, Factor and his co-stars won the 2022 Independent Spirit Award for best ensemble cast in a new scripted series. He has been a guest speaker for community events, youth conferences and schools across the state. He advocates across all tribes, extending his platform from the Caddo Nation to help other communities embrace themselves.
“It feels extra special being Seminole and portraying a Seminole teen,” Factor said. “I want others of different communities and races to be proud of who they are. Embrace who you are and be proud of that.”
Lane Factor’s mom, Kelly Factor, is vice chairwoman of the Caddo Nation. As a tribally-elected official, she has paved the way for new opportunities and resources in the Caddo Nation and beyond. After the loss of cultural programs, understaffing of the tribal complex and lack of economic development with many tribal members unemployed, Kelly Factor said she stepped up to make a difference.
“Our nation is making a huge change and tackling these issues to improve all around, with funding coming back in, reestablished programs; language preservation; an economic development board; expanding land base; increasing tribal staff and cultural activities, to name a few,” Kelly Factor said. “Our nation is a reflection of our families, our children and future generations to come. This is why it is imperative to make a change now.”
As “Reservation Dogs” is made up only of Indigenous writers, directors and series regulars, the series stands as a turning point for Native Americans in the media.
With a clear lack of Indigenous representation in everyday television and feature films, Lane Factor’s role stands for more than just a character on the screen.
“The majority of the Native population in our communities feel underrepresented, as well we should,” Kelly Factor said.
“We don’t see Natives playing in Native roles–these have been notoriously portrayed by non-indigenous actors. Our communities feel a sense of pride seeing actual Natives in these roles, and that it’s possible to make it as a Native actor if they wanted.”
Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News go to GaylordNews.net.