Comedic Interventions: Toppling Monuments and Dismantling Myths in Rutherford Falls

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Focused on a small town near the fictional Minishonka Nation, Rutherford Falls (2021) boasts the largest staff of Native/Indigenous writers in Hollywood, with Sierra Teller Ornelas (Diné) as showrunner, and features a large cast of Native characters actually played by Native actors. Nearly half of the 10-episode first season was directed by Diné director Sydney Freeland. Central to the plot of the series is an effort to remove ‘Big Larry’, a commemorative statue of the town’s colonial-era founder, Lawrence Rutherford. Metaphorically, the history this monument represents continues to perpetuate injurious narratives about the founding of the township and, by extension, the U.S. nation as a whole. While it seems imminent that Big Larry will ‘fall’, the show meditates on the complicated and vexed nature of commemorating historical truths and the lies that must topple or come into the open as the members of the town engage in the process of truth-telling. This breakthrough sitcom has literally dismantled age-old refusals of the commercial entertainment industry to tell contemporary stories that feature realistic Indigenous Peoples engaged in efforts to maintain sovereignty, self-governance, autonomy, and possession over their culture and histories, all in context of a situation comedy, where humour operates as an Indigenous tool to reveal truths and expose lies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook on Rethinking Colonial Commemorations
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783031286094
ISBN (Print)9783031286087
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Comedic Interventions: Toppling Monuments and Dismantling Myths in Rutherford Falls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this