ABC’s “Big Sky” Ignores Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis
Earlier this week I reminded you that the new drama series set in Montana would debut on Tuesday, what I didn't realize is the show is completely tone deaf. When I first heard about the premise of the show, I guess I assumed that the missing girls that the show revolves around would be a reflection of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis. Sadly, that is not the case.
Montana is home to eight federally recognized tribes, which make up the largest minority population in our state. Unfortunately, Big Sky casts white women as the victims in the show, completely disregarding the epidemic of violence plaguing Indian Country. I know it's just a fictional drama series, but producers had a tremendous opportunity to address, and bring national attention to a crucial issue, and failed.
Native American rights groups Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and the Global Indigenous Council, along with the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (executive producer of Somebody’s Daughter), Blackfeet Nation, and Native American voter turnout organization Four Directions, have banded together to urge ABC to bring clarity and compassion to the issue. Other Native American leaders and groups are expected to join the effort to educate ABC and encourage them to remedy this missed opportunity.
The first episode of Big Sky was set in Livingston, home to Indigenous peoples for
thousands of years, that fact was not represented. A letter sent to ABC states, "Big Sky nor The Highway address the fact that the disproportionate majority of missing and murdered women in Montana are Indigenous, a situation replicated across Indian Country, which has made this tragedy an existential threat to Native Americans. To ignore this fact, and to portray this devastation with a white female face, is the height of cultural insensitivity, made even more egregious given the national awakening to the need for racial justice.”
The tribes and organizations have two reasonable requests of ABC - view and learn from the recently updated and re-released documentary Somebody’s Daughter, which was produced to pressure policymakers to take up the cause; and add a graphic at the end of future episodes that contains factual information about the MMIW crisis. The group is not asking ABC to pull the series or reshoot any future segments. Read the full letter here >> ABC Big Sky - Tribal Leaders Letter