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Indigenous representation done right: Netflix’s Chambers

Indigenous representation done right: Netflix’s Chambers

A show inspired by a ghost story featuring Native American characters would typically have many at home rolling their eyes, as it is easy to expect to see nothing short of a take on the Wendigo or hauntings from “ancient burial grounds” with sub-par acting, feathers and sage gracing the screen. However, within Netflix’s Chambers,

A show inspired by a ghost story featuring Native American characters would typically have many at home rolling their eyes, as it is easy to expect to see nothing short of a take on the Wendigo or hauntings from “ancient burial grounds” with sub-par acting, feathers and sage gracing the screen.

However, within Netflix’s Chambers, there is not a Wendigo or ancient burial ground in sight.

Instead, viewers are met by a young couple that are reminiscent of a young Selena Quintanilla-Perez and Chris Perez, who are named Sasha Yazzie, played by Sivan Alyra Rose and TJ Lochlear, played by Griffin Powell-Arcand.

On their first night spent together, Yazzie has a heart attack that nearly kills her and she is carried to the hospital by her long-time boyfriend Locklear. Normally, without health insurance and coming from a low-income family, Yazzie would be at the very bottom of the donor list. But her uncle signs a waiver for an unwanted heart to be transplanted and paid for by people that chose to remain anonymous.

The reasons are revealed as the story develops, while Yazzie survives and heals. But increasingly strange events begin to occur that she can’t help but link to her donor heart.

Featuring television’s first ever Native American leads in a show, Leah Rachel’s Chambers takes us on a nightmare ride as Yazzie and her allies try to find out more about the disturbing origins of her new heart.

Besides the fact that this is the first time a show has ever featured Native American leads, what’s also notable about Chambers is that the entirety of the top-billed cast are people of colour. Uma Thurman as Nancy LeFevre and Tony Goldwyn appearing in credits as supporting stars even though they share equal screen time with everyone else.

The show also shines a light on health care being a real issue within the indigenous spectrum, as prescriptions and more cause Yazzie’s uncle to spiral downward in the fight to provide for her.

From its issues of consent, the perils of cultural displacement, cultural appropriation, forced assimilation, colonization, the ghosts of Indigenous genocide, and so much more all the way through the 10 hours of Indigenous representation on screen, Chambers is not just the way forward for more inclusive horror stories.

Chambers is a new gold standard.

Chezney Martin

Chezney Martin

Chezney covers Arts, Culture and Entertainment and Sports, contact Chezney for tips or feedback.

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