“Yellowstone” has become something of a cultural phenomenon over the course of its five seasons. Boasting the kind of popularity that would make any network jealous, Taylor Sheridan’s neo-western series has offered up a myriad of spin-offs starring the likes of Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and Sam Elliott.
While “Yellowstone” mainly follows the many exploits and in-fighting among the Dutton family, the owners of the titular Yellowstone Ranch, the Paramount series also attempts to explore the nuance behind colonialism and how the messy history of the United States occasionally creates divisions between its many disparate citizens. “Yellowstone” stars like Piper Perabo have hoped that fans have taken notice of the series’ heavy focus on the rights of Native Americans. This detail-oriented approach is a regular facet of the series. However, as series star Mo Brings Plenty has pointed out, there are some significant things that happen so quickly in a Season 3 episode, fans could have easily missed their significance.
Mo Brings Plenty points out the importance of sage to his people
Mo Brings Plenty, who plays Mo on “Yellowstone,” sat down with The New York Times to talk about his presence on the series and why it’s so important to him that they get Native American representation right. In fact, over the course of the conversation, Brings Plenty pointed out an instance from the show as a key example of this. In a Season 3 episode of “Yellowstone,” fans might recall that Mo lights some sage in Chief Rainwater’s (Gil Birmingham) office prior to a meeting with lawyer Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka Kilcher), only to have the legal eagle immediately put out the sage when she arrives for the appointment. Naturally, Mo then re-lights the sage after she leaves.
“In our culture, we use these items to cleanse the space and protect the mind,” Brings Plenty explained. “But burning sage and sweet grass has become a fad and has been culturally misappropriated.” The actor went on to clarify the importance of such practices for his people, saying that they “are sacred to us.”
Though “Yellowstone” focuses primarily on the Dutton family, as led by patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), those who are part of the many First Nations spread all over North America will no doubt appreciate Brings Plenty’s dedication to their shared cultural values and traditions.