A sequel to ‘1883’ and prequel to ‘Yellowstone,’ Paramount+’s Western series ‘1923’ follows the lives of the Duttons during the 1920s, as they deal with several crises that arise due to Prohibition and the Great Depression. In a parallel storyline, the show follows the plight of an Indian girl, who is sexually abused and physically and emotionally tortured at a Catholic school. In the first and second episodes of the show, the girl retaliates against the tortures she receives, only to get punished harshly. Intrigued by the character, we have found everything you need to know about her. Let us share the same! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who is the Indian Girl?
Teonna Rainwater is the Indian girl in ‘1923.’ Teonna is one of the many Native American girls forced to join the schools run by Catholics as they try to dominate the Indian culture. Father Renaud, along with several nuns, who include Sister Mary, runs a school that boards several girls, including Teonna, not necessarily with the permission of their families. In Teonna’s case, she was “stolen” by the Catholics by creating a narrative that she is an orphan due to her mother’s death, although her father is alive. Her grandmother Issaxche Rainwater tries to find a way to get her released from school but the technicalities regarding her being an orphan stop her from doing anything to save her granddaughter.
While most of the Native American girls accept their fates and submit to the torture of the Catholic nuns without a word of opposition, Teonna is an exception. She shows the courage to hit Sister Mary back when the latter severely punishes her. Irrespective of the punishments she gets for her retaliation, she continues to defend her body and soul whenever the Catholics try to harm the same. Unlike others, Teonna also dreams of escaping from school and doesn’t consider her admission to the institution as the end of her life as a Native American. She even speaks her Native American language despite the rule to never utter the same, which indicates how she is still connected to her roots.
Aminah Nieves, who plays Elsa in ‘Blueberry’ and Charissa in ‘V/H/S/99,’ plays Teonna. The Native American girl wasn’t just any other character for Aminah, since the history of the former is also hers. “Teonna in general is an extension of myself and my family. So being able to dip into that, and to honor my ancestors, who have been through so much adversity and still continue to go through adversity, is very important to me,” Nieves told Collider. The actress also talked to several elders of her community to prepare to play Teonna as well. “It’s not something that any of my people didn’t experience. It very much lives within me, still, in my wounds and my family’s wounds, and in my friends,” Nieves told Slash Film.
Is Teonna Rainwater Related to Thomas Rainwater?
Gil Birmingham’s Thomas Rainwater is the leader of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation in ‘Yellowstone.’ Since both Teonna and Thomas belong to the Rainwater family of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation, it is evident that they are relatives. Considering the timelines, Teonna can be Thomas’s grandmother or grandaunt. For Teonna to be Thomas’ grandmother, she has to escape from the Catholic boarding school to form a family. The first and second episodes of the show depict the unbearable tortures Teonna endures, which likely will motivate her to run away from the institution. If that’s the case, she may extend the Rainwater family upon gaining freedom by possibly giving birth to Thomas’ father or mother.
If that’s not the case, Teonna can be Thomas’ grandaunt, who possibly won’t find a way out of the boarding school. In the second episode of the show, both Sister Mary and Father Renaud threaten to kill her if she cannot follow the rules of the institution. Teonna may continue to retaliate against the nun and priest’s assaults, which may pave the way for her death. If that happens, Teonna may become an inspiring figure in the Rainwater household and Broken Rock Reservation, inspiring the present generation of Rainwaters, including Thomas, to fight for their community.
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