1923 Teonna Actor Details Filming Brutal Indigenous Trauma Scenes

Spoilers for 1923 episode 7 below!

Aminah Nieves recently detailed filming Teonna Rainwater’s brutal indigenous trauma scenes in 1923. Nieves stars as Teonna in the Paramount+ western drama, a prequel spinoff to Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone show. Early in the series, Teonna was enrolled at an American Indian boarding school where Catholic nuns pressured her to rid herself of her indigenous culture. As a result of her rebellious nature, pushing back against the cruel system, the school’s faculty repeatedly beat Teonna into submission. Reaching her breaking point, Teonna kills two of the most vicious nuns and escapes into the night.

Speaking with Deadline, Nieves discussed filming the Yellowstone prequel series’ brutal scenes at the American Indian boarding schools. When asked about any fears before taking part in the scenes, the 1923 actor explained that she felt the emotional weight of the work and the care she had to honor her ancestors. Read what Nieves said below:

We did five scenes for the audition from the first three episodes. They were heavy, heavy scenes. It was really hard to move through, because you feel everything. I knew it wasn’t just going to be me feeling it. I knew that there were gonna be ancestors flowing through me. That’s exactly what happened when I got to set. I felt like sometimes, I wasn’t even in control of my body, you know? It felt like, ‘Aminah, someone else is here. Let them take over for a second.’ I was scared a lot. I wanted to make sure I was honoring every single human, every single family member, my grandparents, my aunties, my mom, my dad and then all of the communities. I’m so happy that I’m here and doing it and being a voice.

What to Expect for Teonna in 1923 Season 1 Finale

As with the bulk of the characters in 1923, Teonna has been put through both physical and emotional abuse. Instead of going to war over land and livelihood, she fights not only for her life, but also for her cultural identity. After killing the exceptionally cruel Sister Mary (Jennifer Ehle) and Sister Alice (Kerry O’Malley), Teonna goes on the run to escape the wrath of Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché), the headmaster of the American Indian boarding school.

Teonna encounters Hank (Michael Greyeyes), a Crow sheepherder who keeps her hidden from Renaud’s men. 1923 episode 7 sees the Catholic priests catch up to Teonna, beating her and killing Hank. Although Teonna and Hank manage to kill the men, she is once again left alone to fend for herself with government men still on the search. Teonna must quickly dispose of the dead bodies and round up as many supplies as she can before making her way to her father, Runs His Horse (Michael Spears).

After finding his mother killed by government agents and Hank’s son, Pete Plenty Clouds, tied up and nearly killed by a priest, Runs His Horse becomes fiercely determined to locate his daughter. As 1923 episode 7 showed, Runs His Horse is ruthless and unwavering in his actions, similar to his daughter. Instead of immediately escaping far away, perhaps to Mexico, Runs His Horse, Teonna, and Pete Plenty Clouds may turn their sights on the American Indian boarding school for retribution when 1923 returns for the finale.

Source: Deadline