The SyFy series, which portrays a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies, will feature Native actors protecting their homelands in an episode entitled, “We Were Nowhere Near the Grand Canyon”, at 10 pm.
Z Nation, a television series on the SyFy Network that portrays a cast of zombie-fighters who must transport a virus survivor from New York to California in an attempt to find a zombie cure, will be joined by Native actors Eddie Spears, Gene Tagaban, Tonantzin Carmelo, Tinsel Korey and Jeff Barehand.
Juan Mas, the director of ZNation told ICTMN they had discussed doing an episode featuring Indian Country previously but things didn’t work out. “Karl Schaefer came up with the idea, we wanted our cast to travel to the Grand Canyon and we wanted to introduce a Native American element,” Mas told ICTMN.
“Even though we are a production that likes to make fun of itself, we wanted to maintain respect for Native culture. I am a minority myself as a Cuban and Colombian,” said Mas.
“In any production that portrays a culture, there can be assumptions made so we worked closely with Native actors to tell us if we did anything that might be offensive.”
Mas says the story will focus on the relationship of a Native father (portrayed by Gene Tagaban) a Native son (Eddie Spears) and other family members and friends (Tonantzin Carmelo, Tinsel Korey, and Jeff Barehand.) He also said he desired the native people be portrayed from a place of empowerment – even if the series is about killing zombies.
“There is tradition involved with this production, but we did not have people running around in headdresses and loincloths,” he said.
Ayalla commented on her role on the set of ZNation. “Our Indigenous women are nurturing, powerful warriors. So, it was an honor to help create such a strong, intelligent, kick-butt character like Ayalla. The producers and director really valued all the Native actors’ opinions and helped bring to life multi-dimensional and futuristic Native heroes.”
When asked if there would be any Native American Zombies, Mas told ICTMN that we couldn’t release any spoilers.
(So make sure to watch!)
Check out the trailer and a sneak peek below: