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Sterlin Harjo's upcoming visit to the Walker Art Center won't be his first time in Minnesota.

Fifteen years ago, he teamed up with fellow Native Americans from Oklahoma and Minnesota to film a comedy video in Blue Earth called "Wolf Pack Auditions." That seven-minute film kicked off a relationship that would play a role in the making of "Reservation Dogs," which he co-created.

Several members of that comedy troupe, the 1491s, including Dallas Goldtooth of the Bemidji-based Indigenous Environmental Network and Twin Cities native Bobby Wilson, played recurring characters on the series streaming on Hulu. Scenes like the one in which the uncles have a sobfest during a camping trip were inspired by skits they made together.

"That was kind of a training ground for me to shooting comedy," Harjo said recently in a phone interview from Tulsa, about a two-hour drive from Holdenville, Okla., where he grew up. "I could see what works."

He also remembers the time in 2016 when his recorder kept breaking down during a podcast interview with Louise Erdrich in her Minneapolis store, Birchbark Books.

This time around, Harjo will be the one answering the questions.

He's become a revered figure in show business thanks to the success of "Reservation Dogs," which received a Peabody Award during its 2021-23 run, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for best musical or comedy series. Its success has been cited as a groundbreaking moment in the portrayal of Indigenous people on screen.

"I don't really care what Hollywood has to say, but I can feel the change in Native communities," Harjo said. "It gave people exposure they hadn't had before."

Despite the show's popularity, Harjo and co-creator Taika Waititi ("Jojo Rabbit") decided to pull the plug after just three seasons.

"It was important to me that the critics and fans never said it dragged on," he said. "I needed it to go out on top before anyone told me to stop."

You can expect Harjo to share a lot of stories behind the series during his sold-out appearance Wednesday as part of the Walker's Mack Lecture series, which has previously welcomed musician Brian Eno and writer Claudia Rankine. But don't be surprised if he cringes over some of his earlier work.

During our chat, I mentioned that I had just seen his debut feature, "Four Sheets to the Wind," a comedy about a Native American who finds romantic comfort after his father's suicide.

"I'm sorry you had to do that," said Harjo, who brought that film to the Walker in 2008. "That was not a very good experience. I was green. It's hard for me to watch it."

The 44-year-old filmmaker is more excited about future endeavors. He recently shot a pilot for a series starring Ethan Hawke and is also developing a project with sci-fi elements.

But he's cautious about spending too much time in the limelight. Harjo's collection of over 500 fantastic hats doesn't just show off his sharp fashion sense.

"I think of a hat and sunglasses as a kind of armor," he said. "I'm not naturally a person that enjoys being a public figure. A lot of people want something from you. Sunglasses and a hat protect me a bit, makes me feel I can keep something for me."

Harjo said all the recent attention has sometimes been difficult — "Humans aren't really built to have their lives flipped upside down" — but he took to heart some advice he got from Hawke.

"He said I should get some therapy, which I did," he said. "I had been in therapy before but this was the first time I felt I really needed it."

Sterlin Harjo

When: 7 p.m. Wed.

Where: Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls.

Tickets: $25 ($20 for Walker members). Sold out.