Oral Histories

Interview of Randy Edmonds (2011)

Kiowa and Caddo. Came to Los Angeles as part of the American Indian Relocation.
American Indian Relocation Project
American Indian History
Biographical Note:
Kiowa and Caddo. Came to Los Angeles as part of the American Indian Relocation.
Duarte, Meredith
Edmonds, Randy
Persons Present:
Edmonds and Duarte.
Place Conducted:
San Diego, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Meredith Duarte; M.A., American Indian Studies, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Edmonds was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content but made no changes.
1 hr.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The interviews in the series American Indian Relocation Project document the experience of American Indians who came to Los Angeles as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' urban relocation program in the 1950s and 1960s. The initial interviews were conducted by students in Professor Peter Nabokov's American Indian Studies 200A class. The Center for Oral History Research then conducted additional interviews to expand on those first student interviews.
Where and when Randy was born — Explanation of shift from life in Kiowa country to Caddo country — Boarding school at Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, OK -- Arkansas State College -- Marriage and first daughter — Explanation of relocation program and decision to go to Los Angeles — Description of travels to Los Angeles from Oklahoma and arrival at the destination office in Los Angeles — Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) school assignment — BIA work assignment at Northrop Aircraft Dept 5437 and 5 years with Northrop — BIA-assisted move from Los Angeles to Inglewood— Return to BIA office after layoff at Northrop for new work assignment at United States Gypsum Company and 12 years with the company — Establishment of American Indian Athletic Association and description of life amongst other relocatees in Los Angeles — Decision for wife to go to school and get a job forces the couple to send their first daughter back to Oklahoma — Establishment of an American Indian presence in Los Angeles through Indian Center, Indian clinics, and Native American Student Associations on university campuses — Growth of American Indian population and the development of American Indian-run organizations like the Model Urban Indian Center Project to provide services for American Indians — Explanation of relocatee retention rates and decisions to return to reservation life — Emergence of the pow wow system. Establishment of the Drum and Feather Club to teach traditional ways that were lost in the move — Discussion of the "Urban Indian" — Contact and relationship between relocatees and their families back on the reservation or back home -- Few trips back home to visit his father — Quality of life in the Indian community and on reservations versus in urban centers -- Indian-run businesses — Director of Los Angeles Indian Center in 1973 and establishment of relocation program for solo Indian parents -- Transfer of BIA programs to Indian-run organizations — Description of successes and losses of the relocation program — Contact and tensions between local California Indians and reservation Indians -- Establishment of Cultural Days in Balboa Park — Evaluations of the relocation program — Role of church centers in urban areas — Educational opportunities for relocatees — Prejudice in the urban centers that relocatees faced — Differences between the female and male experience with relocation — Personal evaluation of the relocation programs -- Successes and losses.