I'm going to Idaho the second weekend of June. I'll be visiting Leela Abrahamson, the Lemhi Shoshone girl I interviewed for the August issue of Teen Vogue, at the Fort Hall Reservation. She'll be taking me to all their sacred places and showing me around.

What's funny is that being photographed for T-V has made her a mini-celeb in the area. I was interviewed for the Pocatello State Journal while I was on Haight street showing my hippie cousin Autumn around. I was felt very awkward answering questions about racism and marginalization while buses were charging past.

Leela says they screwed a lot of things up, starting with her name:

Pocatello State Journal

Here's another story I was not interviewed for:

Blackfoot Morning News

She's been on local TV, too. I can't find the videos anymore, but apparently she was on NBC News 6.

The photographer was Lisa Hicks from "Teen Vogue". Leela Abrahamson: "And she was like, 'I'm from California and I didn't even know Indians were still alive ...

OK, that's funny! Of course, I knew Indians were still alive because I went to Red Earth.

Things that are amusing to me about these stories:

- I am not a photographer. I had a point-and-shoot digital camera with me when I met Leela.

- I love how they makes me sound like a creepy child-pornographer type who said, "Can I take your picture?" I actually talked to all the girls a long time about the magazine article before I asked if I could take their pictures.

- The articles keep quoting Leela as saying I didn't know anything about Indian culture, but I did. I'm pretty sure she knows I wasn't totally ignorant, but I was surprised to learn how rampant the racism is. I think I talked to her a couple times about the Indians I knew in Oklahoma and my Native American History class in college. What I didn't know was what life was like on her reservation in Idaho, as I've never been to Idaho.

It's all good. Leela and I are pals. She loves me and squeals every time I call. The tribal leaders are eager to meet me and offered to pay for me to come out.

EDIT: I would have never said in a million years, "I thought you lived in tepees." I am totally teasing her about that when I see her.



August 2010

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