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The Rez
Indian reservations. A stock setting used with indigenous characters. All Indians either live on the rez or have family on the rez. By the way, the /e/ is short.

The Rez comes in four varieties:

  • The casino rez: Any tribe that is rich on their casinos. Naturally, some traditionalist will oppose this, even if gambling is traditional.
  • The magical rez: A forest setting, very reminiscent of the moon of Endor. Expect totem poles and cabins. Sometimes is replaced by a desert setting. Whatever the case, the message is that the locals are Closer to Earth.
  • The political rez: This reservation is basically a third-world country, complete with the American-backed oppressive regime, exploitation of resources (usually uranium), and soul-crushing poverty. Since this basically describes Pine Ridge in The Seventies (as well as now), Truth in Television.
  • The phlebotinum-hiding rez: A subversion of the political rez: Here, the locals only pretend to be poor to hide their Applied Phlebotinum. This will be important.

A subtrope of Injun Country. Not to be confused with a certain other "Rez".


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • The fictional Keewazi tribe of the Marvel Universe are a phlebotinum-hiding rez.
  • The X-Man Warpath's rez in Camp Verde, Arizona was the phlebotinum-hiding variety.
  • Scalped is set in a casino rez in South Dakota that brushes up against the political rez at times.
  • Paran Katar found Katar Hol's mother in one of these.
  • Chief Man-of-Bats, the Native American answer to Batman, patrols The Rez. On his first brief appearance in 1954, it was the magical rez as much as anything, but when the character was revived in the 21st century, his neighborhood had become the political rez.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Thunder Heart is made of the political rez. Given that it's based on Pine Ridge in The Seventies, yeah.
  • The Crow: Wicked Prayer had a political rez.
  • White Fawn's Devotion is an 11-minute short film from 1910 and the oldest surviving film made by Native Americans. It depicts a white man and a Sioux woman living on the Pine Ridge reservation, and what happens when the man receives word of a large inheritance.

    Literature 
  • Sherman Alexie likes to use the political rez, but a lot of his Indians are urban.
  • Tony Hillerman's mystery novels are set in a combination political/magical rez on the Arizona New Mexico border featuring Navajo Tribal Police.
  • Mentioned in two of Jodi Picoult's novels. In Vanishing Acts, Delia goes with her friend Ruthann to the Hopi reservation where Ruthann used to live. This portrayal is a combination of political and magical. It is also mentioned in Harvesting the Heart, when Nicholas volunteers medical services at a Hopi reservation. This time the reservation is solidly political, with Nicholas having to deal with the lack of other doctors.
  • WP Kinsella's Dance Me Outside, made into a film of the same name and the television series The Rez. Subverted "political" type, in that most of the subject matter is semi-comedic.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Cyber War largely takes place on the Navajo (Dineh) reservation. Somewhat of a phlebotinum-hiding rez. The novel is set in the near future and the reservation has built a duty-free international airport, so is not particularly poor, but also has some hidden phlebotinum.

    Live Action TV 
  • Power Rangers went with the phlebotinum-hiding variety. An arrowhead which contains a monster.
  • Star Trek has a variant where there are entire planets of Magical Native Americans.
  • The X-Files has Mulder and Scully traveling to reservations a number of times, ranging from political, such as the season 1 episode of "Shadows", to phlebotinum hiding, like in the episode "Anasazi", the finale of season 2.
  • The Canadian series The Rez, fairly obviously.
  • The Hekawi reservation on F Troop was a variation of the casino type, in that the Indians are always conniving to turn a profit through the sale of souvenirs and participation in Sergeant O'Rourke's illegal schemes. Subverted in that the scripts tended to Lampshade and deconstruct many of the stereotypes of Native Americans at the time.
  • The Our America With Lisa Ling episode 'Life On The Rez' shows up at Pine Ridge, so we're pretty safe calling this one political.
  • On My Name Is Earl, it's stated that Patty the Daytime Hooker spent her childhood here with her father "Chasing Squirrel" after her parents divorced.

    Music 
  • Buffy Ste. Marie is fond of the political rez.
  • The Canadian mix-tape 'Brocket 99' is a mock radio station satirizing many common Aboriginal Canadian stereotypes.

    Video Games 
  • Cosmo Canyon in Final Fantasy VII is a variation on the phlebotinum-hiding variety. It starts out as the magical rez (the locals live in harmony with the Planet and study the secrets of The Lifestream). Late in the game, it's the player-party who asks if they can stash the phlebotinum there for safe-keeping.
  • The village of Soo in Dragon Quest III is the magical variety.
  • Apparently the Rez in Prey is of the political variety.

    Western Animation 
  • The South Park episode "Red Man's Greed" is the casino variety.
  • The Family Guy episode where Peter had a vision quest was an interesting subversion: They used to be the magical rez, and now they're the casino rez.
  • The Simpsons have used casino reservations.
  • King of the Hill offers a mild subversion based on Real Life: just because John Redcorn is a native american, doesn't mean he's just allowed to build a casino.
  • A Pup Named Scooby-Doo had an episode with the magical rez. Of course there was a mystery involving a monster who turned out to be a guy in a costume.
  • If there is a rez on Captain Planet, it will be magical.
  • Futurama has the indigenous Martians living on a reservation inside the planet after the surface was purchased by an ancestor of the Wongs. It's kinda political (the Martians want their "sacred land" back because their ancestors traded it for one bead) and kinda mystical (the Martians can summon sandstorms and fly "buggalo"). Turns out in the end to be a kind of inadvertent phlebotinum-hiding type: the "bead" is actually a gigantic diamond; the Martians just assumed it was worthless and that their ancestors were cheated. They decide that since Mars is kind of a dump anyway, they'll buy some other planet and pretend it's holy.
    Chief Singing Wind: With cash like this, who's gonna argue? Nobody.
  • Tye Longshadow of Young Justice lived on one prior to running away.
Injun CountryHollywood AtlasTipis And Totem Poles
Peace PipeNative Americans TropesThe Savage Indian
Injun CountrySettingsInn Between the Worlds

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