Mo Brings Plenty and Michael Spears visit the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (Eric Lee for Paramount)

'Yellowstone' Star Mo Brings Plenty Visits Senate Committee on Indian Affairs


The Yellowstone universe has made its way into the halls of power. Yellowstone's very own Mo Brings Plenty, along with 1923 stars Michael Spears and Cole Brings Plenty, visited the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. last week for a panel on Native American representation in film and TV. The premiere episode of prequel series 1923 was screened, with representatives celebrating the show's unflinching portrayal of abuse towards Native American children in government boarding schools.

"We thank the creators of 1923 for writing storylines that help reveal dark, untold truths about American history," said Deborah Parker, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, referring to 1923's historically-accurate depiction of the brutality of Native American boarding schools in the 20th century.

Mo Brings Plenty, Michael Spears and Cole Brings Plenty at the Capitol Visitor Center. (Eric Lee for Paramount)

In the first episode of Yellowstone prequel 1923, actress Aminah Nieves' Teonna Rainwater suffers abuse at the hands of the nuns and priests running a Catholic boarding school in North Dakota. Written by franchise creator Taylor Sheridan, the episode is a painful portrait of the ways in which Indigenous Americans suffered -- and too often lost their lives -- in the name of assimilation. In a January interview with Wide Open Country, Nieves described filming the harrowing sequences as "part of my healing personally," adding that she hoped the series would "educate on a grander scale."

Aminah Nieves as Teonna Rainwater in 1923. (Emerson Miller/Paramount+)

"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," Parker added. "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."


Mo Brings Plenty, who's starred as Chief Thomas Rainwater's (Gil Birmingham) right-hand Mo since Yellowstone's debut in 2018, is a member of the Lakota Nation and serves as a cultural advisor for the flagship series and its spinoffs 1923 and 1883. His nephew, Cole Brings Plenty, and Michael Spears, who both star in 1923, were also in attendance. 

(L-R) Gil Birmingham, Mo Brings Plenty and Luke Grimes in Yellowstone. (Paramount Network)

Montana Senator Jon Tester kicked off the event, which also featured Congress member Sharice Davids (Kansas), who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. During the panel, Davids shared that 1923's boarding school plot hits close to home: "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."

Mo Brings Plenty speaks onstage at the screening of 1923. (Eric Lee for Paramount)

Davids went on to praise the show for its "powerful storytelling" and bold depictions of violence perpetrated against Indigenous groups in America. Legislation isn't the only way to shine a spotlight on the issues facing Native Americans, said Davids:

"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."


1923 Season 1 is now streaming on Paramount+, with a second season on the way.

READ MORE: Why Taylor Sheridan Insisted on Filming 'Yellowstone' Broken Rock Reservation Scenes on a Real Reservation

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