Following a letter last week addressed to ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke and series creator David E. Kelley among others, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs have added their voices to the chorus of criticisms.
The series, based on the 2013 novel “The Highway” by C.J. Box, is set in Montana and centers around abductions that occur at truck stops. The Indigenous groups are accusing the series of “at best, cultural insensitivity, and at worst, appropriation” due to being set in area with a disproportionately high rating of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG), yet not having any tribal representation in the show.
Variety has asked ABC for comment.
The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, which represents Montana’s eight federally recognized Indian Tribes, is also among the Indigenous organizations raising concerns about the show, pointing also to the fact it is shot not in Montana, but in unceded Indigenous territory in British Columbia.
“Making the abduction and trafficking of women for primetime entertainment is bad enough. Erasing the reallife tragedy of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis is unconscionable. We live with the consequences of this loss and trauma on a daily basis, but ABC won’t even acknowledge it, even after they’ve been given an opportunity to do so,” said A. Gay Kingman, Executive Director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, in a statement.