Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following post may contain spoilers for the FX series, Reservation Dogs.
Elora Danan Postoak (Played by Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs) from Reservation Dogs is the epitome of strength. I mean, life on the reservation is hard, but no one has it harder than Elora. And for that, she’s one tough cookie. Elora still has a great outlook on life and isn’t afraid to open up to new people. What makes her life tough is she has lost the ones who loved her the most. But she still has a lot of love in her life.
Elora Danan was only three years old when her mother Cookie (JaNae Collins) died. Cookie was on a joy ride with a guy on a motorcycle when they wrecked. Elora was raised by her grandmother Mabel (Geraldine Kearns). Elora mentioned once that Mabel wasn’t the most affectionate, but that seemed to be okay with her. Elora had Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Cheese (Lane Factor), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Daniel (Dalton Cramer) and they became her family. The unthinkable happened when Daniel took his own life. Elora was the last to see him alive. And his death sparked her determination to leave town.
When we first meet Elora, she is calm, cool and collected and ready to get out of Dodge. She got out but came right back. Elora’s journey wasn’t so much about growing up, but more about finding her roots, so she could grow up. Through many mistakes, Elora discovers that her strength comes from her community.
The Real Deal:
Elora is determined, organized, and ready for adventure. So when Bear started spending their travel money, she made a plan to leave town with rival gang member Jackie (Elva Guerra) instead. Elora and Jackie became fast friends, both eager to get out of Okern. They didn’t make it out of Oklahoma and came home to a very upset Bear. To make things worse, Mabel passed away, leaving Elora alone.
It took the Reservation Dogs to completely stop talking to each other for them to realize the only way to fix things was to go to California. They were all still in pain from their loss of Daniel and needed to reconnect and heal. The trip was successful as far as putting the pain behind them. But Elora still felt the need to leave. It was time for her to live for herself.
Elora explored the possibility of going to college. The only thing holding her back was money. The only way she could apply for financial aid was to find her father Rick (Ethan Hawke). Meeting her father for the first time was awkward. Elora planned to go in, have Rick fill out a financial aid application and go home. Instead, Rick was super nervous and eager to talk to Elora. Despite her urge to run, Elora humored Rick and spent the day with him. She got to meet her half siblings and established a parental relationship with her father. Rick admits he wasn’t ready to be a father when Elora was born. But he’s ready now and Elora is ready to be a daughter to someone.
Elora established a family made up of her friends and the community. Even her Uncle Brownie (Gary Farmer) isn’t a blood relative. He’s one of Mabel’s close friends. When Mabel died, the community surrounded her and took care of her. Despite what happened to Daniel, Elora realized she needed them. Through her friends she learned different things about love. Willie Jack taught her to love her community, Cheese taught her to love herself, and Bear taught her how to fight for love. When Elora made the decision to go to college, she also decided to study mental health to help people like herself and maybe save someone like Daniel.
Why She Matters:
Elora Danan may be leaving the reservation, but the reservation will never leave her. She takes her family and community with her wherever she goes. Elora matters because she is a sturdy pillar that holds everyone else up. She recognizes when others need her to listen or just needs her to be silly. A girl who had to grow up too fast overcame her tragedies and is ready to heal the world.
Elora Danan represents leadership, humility, and resilience. They say things happen for a reason. Elora’s painful losses gave her the ability to face her pain and find a way to heal herself. Now she can grow up. Be like Elora Danan. Turn your pain into triumph and use it to help your family and community thrive. Here Mahe Elora Danan! MVTO!
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