‘Reservation Dogs’: Amber Midthunder on Her ‘Very Out There’ Character Miss M8triarch

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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 6 of Reservation Dogs, “Decolonativization.”]

Reservation Dogs is a gold mine for guest stars and in the show’s latest installment, “Decolonativization,” Prey‘s Amber Midthunder makes a memorable appearance as young Native influencer Miss M8triarch.

Joined by Elisha Pratt’s Augusto Firekeeper, they helm several trust activities and lead conversation in a youth session, American Reclamation and Decolonization Symposium (NARDS), that Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), Cheese (Lane Factor), and more attend. While they’re participating for the main purpose of securing the promised Sonic gift card all attendees will receive, the teens get swept up in the influencer’s activities, even if they’re side-eyeing some of their teachings — or lack-there-of.

Below, the Midthunder, who is also known for Roswell, New Mexico, opens up about her guest role, shares hopes for Miss M8triarch’s return, and reflects on her experience working behind the scenes on the groundbreaking series.

Reservation Dogs Season 2 Amber Midthunder Elisha Pratt

(Credit: Shane Brown/FX)

Miss M8triarch is quite the character, how was this role introduced to you, and what drew you to Reservation Dogs?

Amber Midthunder: I was so excited. I got an audition request, did a self-tape and then I did a callback and I could not have been more excited. I mean, this character’s definitely very out there, and I’ve never done comedy before. I’m a huge fan of the show. So being able to watch everybody in action, I was like kind of being a fan girl cause I was like, “oh my God, I watch the show and I’m seeing it get made.”

How did your experience on Reservation Dogs differ from your experiences on shows like Roswell, New Mexico, and Legion, or your newest movie Prey?

It was very different. Just the environment of a half-hour comedy is totally different than both of those [shows, which] were like dramas. The experience of being on a set, that is mostly native people [is something] I had never really experienced. So it just gave me this feeling of ease and freedom and comfort, especially for me to do a show like this, which I’ve never done before.

I never felt weird about [asking] questions, it was just so comfortable because there were some familiar faces, there were some new faces, but it didn’t matter. I think that’s really to credit them because they all have such ease together. There’s such a comfortable, familiar familial-like environment dynamic that folds into that.

Reservation Dogs Season 2 cast

(Credit: Shane Brown/FX)

You say you haven’t done much comedy, was it difficult keeping a straight face through the scenes?

There were definitely times that would happen at rehearsals. Director Tazbah [Chavez] and I were talking about this early on, about how Miss M8triarch really believes this stuff. So I think that that was my way in, to just not be constantly laughing at what I was saying. It’s like, she truly believes in this where you have youth speakers who get asked to come to the Res who didn’t grow up on the Res. And it’s like, you know she really genuinely feels this way about all the things she’s saying, believes like this is her way to do the best that she possibly can. So I think that was my way in, she truly feels like she’s doing the best possible humanitarian act that she could.

How collaborative was it behind the scenes?

Everything that was scripted was so good, but there were definitely moments that were encouraged to riff. I can’t remember if “Dinosaur Oyate” was improv, but they were like, “talk about Neanderthals and then talk about dinosaurs and just keep going whatever.” That kind of stuff was so fun because, for so long, I was scared of doing improv. That was the last thing that I ever wanted to do. But in this environment I was having so much fun, I didn’t feel that way at all.

Miss M8triarch and her co-speaker Augusto Firekeeper (Elisha Pratt) helm the Native American Reclamation and Decolonization Symposium (NARDS) for the reservation’s youth. Was that an experience you could relate to?

I’ve definitely been in situations like that growing up. TikTok was not a thing when I was like in middle school, but yeah, definitely being in those situations where there are speakers like that. I didn’t grow up on my Res, but being in situations like that where you’re at a youth event or there are guest speakers, and you’re like, “what’s going on?” I think what’s funny is just the idea of like the tactics that people take to be relevant or cool to kids, you know? And often I feel like she’s trying, [but] she’s not quite getting it.

One of the best things about Reservation Dogs is the show’s knack for bringing back guest characters. Would you like to reprise your role as Miss M8triarch?

If they have more ideas for Miss M8triarch, I am available always yeah. I think that she’s so fun. I feel like the way that they bring back characters is always so fun and creative and unexpected. But that’s also what’s real, you know? It’s just like those weird little, small-world things that happen in Indian country. So, yeah, if there was ever a space for her to come back, there’s no question.

Reservation Dogs, Season 2, New Episodes Wednesdays, FX

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