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Jana Schmieding      

Comedic Actress, Podcaster & Native American Rights Activist

Jana Schmieding is a Mniconjou and Sicangu Lakota actor, writer and comedian known for writing and acting on the Peacock comedy "Rutherford Falls." Formerly a public school teacher in New York City, Schmieding moved to Los Angeles to further pursue a career in television. Schmieding was born and raised in rural Oregon, studied theater arts at the University of Oregon and got her Masters in Teaching from Mercy College in New York.

Schmieding cut her teeth in the improv and sketch comedy scene in New York City where she wrote, performed and directed regularly. Between 2017 and 2019, Schmieding hosted "Woman of Size," a podcast in which she and guests discussed experiences of discrimination related to body size.

News


Jana Schmieding is holding open the door for Native sitcoms

Native representation in television and film has been historically abysmal. When Native characters do pop up, they are typically one-dimensional, and often embody exhausting tropes, like the “drunken Indian” or the picturesque murder victim. But the Peacock sitcom Rutherford Falls offers audiences something entirely different: multidimensional Native characters who defy stereotypes and embody the contradictions that Native people in the U.S. are often faced with in their daily lives.

‘Rutherford Falls’ Team Talks Importance of Native Authenticity, Beading in Costume Design

Costume designer Kirston Mann admits she felt like an outsider when it came to working on Peacock’s “Rutherford Falls.” Although she has countless other television credits, including executive producer Mike Schur’s previous comedies “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place,” working with traditional Native materials and designs was new for the veteran crew member.

Former Oregonian Jana Schmieding Is the Breakout Star on the New Indigenous-led Comedy “Rutherford Falls”

All autumn leaves and red brick, the town of Rutherford Falls is an idealized but embattled Northeastern backdrop for the new Peacock original comedy series bearing the same name. Also fictional are the Minishonka, the Indigenous nation adjacent to the town. Invented tribal people aside, Rutherford Falls star and staff writer Jana Schmieding still feels the dynamics of her Oregon youth resonating throughout the new show, created by Ed Helms, Sierra Teller Ornelas and Mike Schur.

Jana Schmieding Reveals The Rutherford Falls Moment That Made Her “Weep”

As soon as Jana Schmieding name drops Michael Schur, a co-creator on her new comedy series Rutherford Falls, her cat jumps into the frame of her Zoom call and lands on a black mantle directly behind her. “This is my cat Šázi. Does he get a shoutout in the article? Let’s make him famous,” Schmieding quips.

Jana Schmieding Lakota Actress From Peacock’s Rutherford Falls

Rutherford Falls,” Peacock TV‘s binge-worthy new show, manages to do something few ever have: bring multi-dimensional indigenous characters into an American sitcom. While Native Americans have historically been portrayed as monolithic in American film and TV, “Rutherford Falls” breaks the mold, taking Native Americans out of the box they're so often forced into. But beyond that, the show's just downright brilliant.

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