Image Source: FX
“Reservation Dogs” is officially back for season two — and so are the owls with the blurred out eyes. We first saw the owls in episode three of season one when Elora (Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs) visits Uncle Brownie (Gary Farmer) in hopes he will teach the Rez Dogs how to fight so they can defend themselves against their new rival gang. As Elora, Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), and Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) arrive at Uncle Brownie’s home, an owl statue is shown hanging outside with its eyes blurred out. “Ah, f*ck! Hell nah, not an owl. Yo, that’s not a good sign,” Willie Jack exclaims as the group quickly covers their eyes and turns away from it.
During the second season’s two-episode premiere on Aug. 3, we see the owls pop up numerous times, and like their previous appearances, their eyes are still blurred out. Even though the series is packed with pop culture references, the owl is actually a nod to Indigenous culture. While speaking to NPR, Native journalist and Rotten Tomatoes critic Vincent Schilling explained that the owl is known as “a harbinger of evil” in many Indigenous cultures and that most people wouldn’t know that unless they are part of the Indigenous community, which explains why the group immediately freak out whenever they see the owls.
“Reservation Dogs” is the first TV show to feature an all-Indigenous team of writers, directors, and series regulars. In an August 2021 interview with People, Jacobs praised Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi for creating a show that spotlights an often-marginalized community. “It’s about damn time that Indigenous people are represented on this scale,” she said. “Rarely have we been afforded the opportunity to tell our own stories. It’s so perfect that it’s a comedy because our communities are actually so funny. And nobody in Western culture really thinks that Indigenous people are anything [except] this idea of the stoic Indian who was being shot in old Western films.”
New episodes of “Reservation Dogs” air weekly on Wednesday on Hulu.