Devery Jacobs talks about Indigenous representation in TV & film

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 11: Devery Jacobs attends the AFI Awards Luncheon at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on March 11, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
"Reservation Dogs" star Devery Jacobs opened up about Indigenous representation in the latest issue of Elle Canada. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)

Devery Jacobs is opening up about Indigenous representation, and finding joy in collaborating with her community.

Earlier this month, the 29-year-old Kanien’kehá:ka actor and filmmaker was featured on the front cover of Elle Canada, paired with an interview in which the "Reservation Dogs" star opens up about Indigenous representation in the film industry.

Jacobs proudly took to Instagram on Friday to share a snap of herself picking up a copy of Elle Canada's September issue with her photo on the front, in which she poses in an outfit designed by Vivienne Westwood, Loewe and Modern Weaving.

"Finally picked up my copy of @ellecanada," she captioned the photo for her more than 220,000 followers.

Jacobs is one of the lead actors on the FX dramedy series "Reservation Dogs" — which aired its first season in 2021.

The show is set on an Oklahoma reserve, with an almost entirely Indigenous cast and crew. Jacobs explained that it was incredibly important to touch on real-life Indigenous issues, including suicide, which she also elaborated on even further in a personal essay for Time.

“All native folks have been touched in some way by suicide, so I think there was so much more to the story behind the scenes,” she told Elle Canada.

The Canadian actress and Indigenous advocate recently joined another Indigenous-focused project, this time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a role in the upcoming Disney+ series, "Echo," set to air in 2023. She will be joining two familiar faces from "Reservation Dogs" — Zahn McClarnon and director Sydney Freeland.

"To be able to collaborate again with another queer Indigenous person — Sydney being trans and Navajo — is so awesome,” Jacobs said.

She also added that outside of her professional life, it's comforting to connect with other Indigenous women in her field. She recently had dinner with Lakota Sioux actor Amber Midthunder, the first female Indigenous action hero, known for her role in "Prey."

“[We were] talking about how [roles are] so scarce for native artists, which ends up forming a crab-in-the-bucket [mentality] where [you think] ‘If I’m not cast, it’s going to be this other person, and there’s only room for one,’” Jacobs recalled. “But that’s just not true right now.”

She continued: “I turned to her and said, ‘It’s my hope that we can be old Totas [“grandmothers” in Kanien’kehá:ka] in the industry and that we can look back at the things we were able to do together and feel like we have left it in a better place than when we first came into it.’”

Jacobs admitted that seeing Indigenous stories garner mainstream success "is something I never imagined could happen.”

"Going from fighting to have Indigenous stories be seen to enjoying the overwhelming success of season one of Rez Dogs feels like whiplash," she said. “[I’m] used to screaming into a void and people not caring about Indigenous stories, so for this to suddenly take off… All of the rezzy-isms that I was shamed for are now being celebrated and universally respected as cool, which I always knew [they were] but the industry didn’t know yet. It’s all happening at once.”

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