The adults have their conferences and the youth have their summits on Reservation Dogs. In “Decolonativization,” the IHS crew bring in a couple of decolonized influencers to motivate the Native youth. 

These type of summits happen often. A tribal education office will bring in a speaker or two; someone who is slightly older than the targeted youth; and someone who can help motivate the youth to honor their elders, support each other, and decolonize their spaces. And there’s always free food. 

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Last week, Rita (Sarah Podemski) had her fun with her childhood friends at the IHS conference. This week, she’s putting on the NARDS Youth Summit. And she found out about the party that Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) threw while she was away. His punishment is, he has to attend the Youth Summit.

Rita invited Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), Cheese (Lane Factor) and Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs). Bear groans when she says Elora’s name. He’s still waiting for an apology from her. He says if she does anything to make him mad again, he’s done with her. Rita snickers and says that’s not how family works. 

The other kids show up and inform Bear that they get a $15 Sonics gift card for attending, but they have to stay the whole day to get it. Elora Danan comes in the room with Jackie (Elva Guerra). Willie Jack and Bear are still bothered by their friendship. The NDN Mafia are there to, including White Steve (Jack Maricle). 

Old Man Fixico (Richard Ray Whitman) starts off the day with a prayer. Clinton (Warren Queton) takes over to introduce the day’s speakers, Miss M8triarch (Amber Midthunder) and Augusto Firekeeper (Elisha Pratt). They are motivational speakers that appear to be in touch with their heritage and use English and Native languages interchangeably.


Clinton introduces the guest speakers on Reservation Dogs

RESERVATION DOGS — “Decolonativization” — Season 2, Episode 6 (Airs August 31) — Pictured: (l-r) Amber Midthunder as Mis M8triarch, Warren Queton as Clinton, Elisha Pratt as Augusto Firekeeper. CR: Shane Brown/FX

Miss M8triarch starts off by giving a land acknowledgment to the Caddo, Osage and Muscogee people. She keeps going by acknowledging our Neanderthal ancestors, the Dinosaur Nation, and the Reptile relatives. Augusto tells the group that he’s an actor, a model, poet, hat maker and …  a young elder. 

The influencers spend the day giving the group different tasks. They give them journals to write in and ask them to write about a time they were happy. White Steve wrote about the day he was initiated into the NDN Mafia. Bone Thug Dog (Jude Barnett) and Weeze (Xavier Bigpond) beat him up. Bone Thug Dog wrote about how painting calms him. Jackie wrote about when her older brother taught her how to ride a bike. 

The next exercises include the potato dance, a trust obstacle course and a trust fall. Bear is paired up with Jackie during the potato dance. They argue the entire time. Willie Jack and White Steve are paired up and they actually dance well while balancing the potato. Cheese and Elora Danan drop the potato before everyone else. Bear and Jackie end up winning and they get a bag of potatoes as a prize. Willie Jack makes a snarky remark about their win. Cheese snaps back saying everyone is having fun but her. 

During lunch, Bear, Willie Jack and Cheese find out that Miss M8triarch is actually a city NDN. She’s a PhD student and her body is from the Bay area, but her spirit is with her ancestors. Miss M8triarch wants to be a filmmaker. WJ tells her about Bear’s films. Miss M8triarch says she’d like to use Bear’s footage in her film. Weird.

Rita sit with Bev (Jana Schmieding) and Dr. Kang (Bobby Lee), but Bev isn’t eating. She says she can’t eat because the cook doesn’t like her. Bev snagged the cook’s man … and her son. She’s afraid the beans have medicine in them. 


Elora Danan leads a blindfolded Bear on Reservation Dogs.

RESERVATION DOGS — “Decolonativization” — Season 2, Episode 6 (Airs August 31) — Pictured: Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, D’Pharaoh Woo-A-Tai as Bear. CR: Shane Brown/FX

Elora Danan and Bear are paired up during the trust obstacle course. Willie Jack gets Cheese. The objective is one person is blindfolded and the other tells them where to go to get through the obstacle course. Willie Jack leads Cheese to the vending machine, makes him buy a drink, and bring it to her. Elora leads Bear through the obstacle course. There is still some tension, but they end up winning that round together. 

Miss M8triarch picks Willie Jack and Jackie for the trust fall. Jackie is hesitant because she knows Willie Jack doesn’t like her. She’s sure that WJ will drop her. Willie Jack says she won’t drop her because she wants her Sonics gift card. Miss M8triarch counts to three and Jackie falls back. WJ moves out of the way as she falls and Jackie hits the ground hard. She jumps up to confront WJ. WJ snaps back at Jackie, saying she should tell her brother to put the training wheels back on. Jackie gets upset and leaves the room.

Elora Danan yells at Willie Jack for what she just did and said. Willie Jack is shocked until Bone Thug Dog tells her that Jackie’s brother died. Elora says he died like Daniel (Dalton Cramer) did.  Willie Jack didn’t know about Jackie’s brother. She feels bad and leaves to find Jackie.


Bear and his friends attend the Youth Summit on Reservation Dogs

RESERVATION DOGS — “Decolonativization” — Season 2, Episode 6 (Airs August 31) — Pictured: (l-r) Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack, D’Pharaoh Woon-a-tai as Bear, Lane Factor as Cheese, Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Elva Guerra as Jackie. CR: Shane Brown/FX

At the of the day, Cheese asks how their activities helps to decolonize things. Neither Miss M8triarch or Augusto give them a clear answer. Instead, they are proud that the youth are asking questions. It’s an honor to give them such a gift. Augusto closes out the day with … a … prayer? He shakes a rattle and spouts off some words ending with “we are still here.” He also uses a smoke machine, to which Miss M8triarch uses it to smudge herself. Dr. Kang and Clinton thinks it’s a powerful presentation. Cringe.

Willie Jack finds Jackie sitting at Bev’s desk. She sincerely tries to apologize and talk to Jackie. Jackie stand up and tells Willie Jack to watch her back. 

The kids get their Sonics gift card and wait for Willie Jackie. Elora is looking for Jackie, but it’s clear that the girl is gone. Elora mentions how what WJ did to Jackie is messed up. Bear defends Willie Jack, saying she didn’t know about Jackie’s brother. She can’t fault WJ for being loyal, not that she would know about that.

Bear starts yelling at her for pretending nothing happened and then getting mad at WJ. Elora never apologized for leaving him behind. Now she expects them to be there for her. He says she’s going to end up like her grandma. Alone until it’s too late.

Elora calls him a kid. He can’t see how sorry she is because he can’t see outside himself. She says she’s sorry she hurt him, but she’s not sorry she left him. Elora leaves and he tries to stop her. She tells him not to talk to her for a while. Cheese says that made him very uncomfortable. 

Later, Elora is at home, watching TV and eating Sonics. Jackie texts saying she’s sorry for leaving her and asks what she’s up to. Elora doesn’t reply. She hears something and turns off the TV. Elora hears Wotko singing. She goes to her grandma’s room and turns on the light. The singing stops, so she turns off the light and goes back to the living room. She realizes … she’s alone.

RELATED: Catch up on all of the Reservation Dogs recaps here! 

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