“It’s in my blood”: Yellowstone Invited Native-American Wrath after Kelsey Asbille’s Ill-Timed Confession

Yellowstone, the popular neo-Western drama series created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, has gained a huge following since its release in 2018. The show, which concluded after five seasons, has spawned spin-offs like 1833 and 1923 that fans have eagerly followed. However, the drama surrounding the TV series extends beyond the screen, with controversies involving the cast. One such incident revolves around Kelsey Asbille, who plays Monica Long Dutton in the show, and sparked a larger conversation about Native identity and representation.

After playing a young Native American woman in the 2017 film Wind River, Asbille landed the role of Monica Dutton in Yellowstone.

The character is depicted as a Native American and lifelong resident of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. This portrayal prompted questions about Asbille's own background. The New York Times reported that she is of Taiwanese, British, and Eastern Band Cherokee descent. While Asbille did not grow up in the indigenous community, she claimed to have an "intense connection" to her Native American character in Wind River, stating, "This role, more than any other, it's in my blood."

However, when news spread that Asbille had joined the cast of Yellowstone in a leading role, several Native American actors raised concerns about her casting, arguing that her claim to Native American heritage was false.

Actors Adam Beach and Sonny Skyhawk criticized the show and called for a boycott. Beach expressed disappointment in an Instagram post, calling out the lack of diversity in the show and questioning Asbille's ancestry. Skyhawk even contacted the tribe's Tribal Enrollment Office, which found no record of the actress and could not confirm her as a descendant.

Both Asbille and the show's creator, Taylor Sheridan, remained silent on the issue, despite the series claiming to authentically depict Native life in America.

The controversy surrounding Asbille's casting raises important questions about representation and the lack of opportunities for Native American actors in Hollywood.

The criticism from Native American actors highlights the need for more authentic casting and the importance of accurate representation onscreen.

Yellowstone, known for its authentic portrayal of the American West, continues to be a popular show. However, this controversy sheds light on the ongoing challenges faced by Native American actors in the industry and the need for more inclusive casting practices.

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