Unearthing the Link between Teonna Rainwater and Monica in Yellowstone!

Yellowstone-Verse is just as much about the Rainwaters as the Duttons, as their destiny seems to be joined at the hip. 1923 laid bare the horrific experience of the children of the first nations in catholic boarding schools through the story of Teonna Rainwater (Aminah Nieves). Having become one of the most likable characters in the show, many fans are now wondering whether she is related to Yellowstone’s Thomas Rainwater and exactly which first nations tribe she belongs to.

Teonna Rainwater is from the Crow Nation tribe of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation in Yellowstone. Paramount hasn’t connected her to Yellowstone’s Thomas Rainwater yet, but her family’s prominence on the reservation is clear in the show. Neither her father, Runs His Horse, nor her maternal grandmother, Issaxche, has been referred to as Rainwater, but the family tree may be completed later in 1923 or the upcoming spinoff 1944.

Being a Native American herself, Aminah Nieves embraced and nailed the role of Teonna perfectly, turning her into every fan’s favorite Indian of the franchise so far. The scenes of Teonna’s suffering at the hands of the nuns and priest at the school were hard for most fans to watch. Her entire storyline became more similar to that of the Duttons, with her fighting spirit making her relatable to fans who now wonder whether there is more to the Rainwaters than Yellowstone lets on.

What tribe does Teonna Rainwater belong to?

Mo Brings Plenty and Teonna Rainwater Yellowstone

Aminah Nieves confirmed that Teonna Rainwater is a Crow, a term used to refer to people of the Crow Nation tribe, a real-life Indian tribe with a reservation in Southern Montana. The crow people are a tribe of 14,000 registered members in the US with a tribal headquarters in Montana.

The tribe’s people have historically lived in the Yellowstone River Valley, which spread from Wyoming through Montana to North Dakota. Teonna was in a boarding school in North Dakota while her father tended to the tribe’s herd on the reservation in Montana.

It is not clear whether both of Teonna’s parents are Crows yet. However, when she mentioned Rainwater, Hank (who saved her after escaping the school) knew immediately that her father was Runs His Horse. Rainwater is, therefore, likely to be her father’s name. Rainwater may still be her maiden name, and her maternal family tree may be from a different tribe.

Since Teonna’s mother and grandmother are dead, the show may not explore the maternal family tree any further, leaving her father as the best starting point for the Rainwater family tree discussion. The leader of the Indian tribe that met James Dutton in the Yellowstone flashback to 1893 may also be a Rainwater, but that is a story for another day.

Who is Teonna Rainwater’s father?

Runs His Horse 1923

Teonna Rainwater’s father is Runs His Horse (Michael Spears), a prominent horseman on the Indian reservation neighboring the Yellowstone ranch. Runs His Horse works for the tribe’s herd, as confirmed by Teonna’s grandmother, a career the church despised and used as a pretext to declare Teonna, an orphan.

Runs His Horse received the gift of Banner Creighton’s sheep from Jacob Dutton and gave his foreman, Zane, a knife as a thank-you gift in return. From his reaction, it was obvious that he knew Jacob Dutton well but wasn’t so fond of him, which would be expected because the Duttons took the land from his ancestors.

Paramount hasn’t referred to Runs His Horse as Rainwater yet, although that is to be expected since Indians hadn’t adopted the same naming system as the Euro-Americans in the 1920s. Rainwater may still be his name because Hank immediately referred to him when Teonna said her second name.

Teonna was only a year away from finishing school when she escaped. Therefore, she understood the naming system and referred to herself as Teonna Rainwater. There is no reference to any other siblings or relatives of Teonna’s in 1923, suggesting that she may be Runs His Horse’s only child.

John Dutton also instructed his foreman to hand the sheep to Runs His Horse to save the reservation from starving. That means Runs His Horse may be the chief of the reservation. There are no details about his position in the tribe from the show, but the respect Jacob Dutton and his fellow tribesmen accord him shows he is a leader.

Is Teonna Rainwater related to Yellowstone’s Thomas Rainwater?

Teonna and Thomas Rainwater Collage

Aminah Nieves said in an interview with Outsider that she doesn’t know whether her character is the direct ancestor of Yellowstone’s Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham). She didn’t write off the possibility, though, and neither has Paramount.

Yellowstone’s Thomas Rainwater was adopted and raised without knowing his ancestry until he turned 18 and discovered he was a Native American. However, Thomas was introduced in Yellowstone as a villain, and many people on the reservation don’t like him and his leadership.

There are no details about his ancestry in Yellowstone, but he enjoys a cordial relationship with Mo, the priest on the reservation, which could suggest that he knows his ancestry. Mo respects Thomas but doesn’t necessarily agree with all of his policies.

Thomas Rainwater is also close friends with Kayce’s wife, Monica Long, and seemingly has close ties to her parents. He even attended the private funeral of her son, which suggests close family ties.

As for the Rainwater name, Teonna is only the second person after Thomas to have a similar surname in Yellowstone-Verse. She may be his great-grandmother or great-aunt through a relative that Taylor Sheridan hasn’t revealed. Whichever the connection, there has to be some ancestral importance to the name for the show’s creators to choose it for the two main characters.

Just like Runs His Horse and the Indian leader in the 1893 flashback, Thomas hates the Duttons for taking their land but still respects him as a person. There is no direct connection in the family tree from 1923 to Yellowstone yet, but Paramount has promised other Yellowstone spinoffs, and they may give the connection.


Yellowstone Series in Chronological Order: Including All Spin-offs

Is Teonna Rainwater related to Yellowstone’s Monica?

Teonna Rainwater and Monica Long

No direct familial relationship between Teonna and Monica has yet been shown in 1923 and Yellowstone. It may still happen if Teonna marries someone from the Long or Dutton families later in 1923.

The two characters still have many similarities that fans appreciate, including a strong fighting spirit and attachment to their roots and tradition. Monica and Teonna jointly represent the resilience of the people of first nations in two different eras of oppression and neglect.

The Long and Rainwater names bear lots of significance on the Broken Rock reservation, and intermarriage in both families cannot be ruled out. Thomas Rainwater treats Monica as his daughter.

Felix Long (Monica’s grandfather) also has a cordial relationship with Thomas Rainwater in Yellowstone. The Long family even allowed Thomas to attend their private funeral. It is, therefore, possible that the two families are related in some way.

Since Monica is married to Kayce Dutton, Teonna may also be her relative and probably even Tate’s ancestor if she marries a Dutton later in 1923.

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