Actor Jonathan Joss (King of the Hill, Parks & Rec, Magnificent Seven) Discusses Indigenous American Representation on Pretty Much Pop Podcast #7

Jonathan built his career play­ing 19th cen­tu­ry Amer­i­can Indi­ans on horse­back and is best known for his voice act­ing as John Red­corn III in King of the Hill (start­ing sea­son 2) and then for his recur­ring role as Chief Ken Hotate in Parks and Recre­ation. Eri­ca Spyres, Mark Lin­sen­may­er, and Bri­an Hirt talk to him about those roles plus act­ing in The Mag­nif­i­cent Sev­enTrue Grit, and his cur­rent role as Sit­ting Bull in Annie Get Your Gun (also fea­tur­ing Eri­ca) cur­rent­ly run­ning at the Bay Street The­ater in Sag Har­bor.

Jonathan talks about Hollywood’s record and progress in por­tray­ing indige­nous Amer­i­cans, his own strug­gles to get native views reflect­ed in the works he’s par­tic­i­pat­ed in and the dif­fer­ences between act­ing on stage vs. film and TV. When is an anachro­nis­tic work too far gone to update it, and is it even legit­i­mate to try?

A few rel­e­vant clips from King of the Hill: “Hank asks John Red­corn about tool,” “John Red­corn makes a toast,”, “John wants his son back,” and “Big Moun­tain Fudge­cake.” Here’s the Car­toon Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry video that Bri­an brings up.

Here’s John as Chief Hotate in Parks and Recre­ation play­ing Jere­my Jamm (John Glaser) like a fid­dle.

Here’s the scene from True Grit (2010) where Jonathan’s char­ac­ter gets hanged.

Here’s Jonathan talk­ing at Indege­nous Com­ic Con 2017 about rep­re­sen­ta­tion and act­ing, and here he is doing a fake pan­el.

The actor in the film Min­utes that Mark refers to is come­di­an Tatan­ka Means. Jonathan brings up native author/activist John Trudell, and Eri­ca brings up the play Tribes about the deaf com­mu­ni­ty.

You may be inter­est­ed in The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life’s episode on Amer­i­can Indi­an phi­los­o­phy and the vary­ing reac­tions to it.

This episode includes bonus con­tent that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

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