Oral Histories

Interview of Sallie Cuaresma

Cherokee. Came to Los Angeles as part of the American Indian Relocation.
American Indian Relocation Project
American Indian History
Biographical Note:
Cherokee. Came to Los Angeles as part of the American Indian Relocation.
Duarte, Meredith
Cuaresma, Sallie
Persons Present:
Cuaresma and Duarte.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
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. Cuaresma 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 Sallie was born — Parents' names — Shows interviewer a photograph of her parents — Explanation of tribal affiliation — Years at country school during elementary years — Decision to move from Tahlequah, OK to California — Traveling from Tahlequah to Los Angeles -- Memories of being in coach with her family as a teenager — Arrival in Los Angeles, March 19, 1956 — Memories of parents' feelings towards the relocation program and why they chose to participate — What it was like arriving in Los Angeles and description of first days in a new city — Description of first apartment amongst other relocated families in downtown Los Angeles — Father's job search and assignment at Douglas Aircraft — Explanation of mother's role as a stay-at-home mom — First year in junior high school in Los Angeles — Move to another home in downtown Los Angeles -- Description of duplex -- Description of mother's role in finding the new home — Mother's feelings toward the relocation program and the possibility of going back to Oklahoma — Little communication with other relocatees and description of becoming very isolated in Los Angeles — Return trips to Oklahoma — Mother's effort to keep traditional ways in the home and the difficulties of keeping traditions in Los Angeles — Participation in American Indian church centers and other American Indian-run organizations — Participation with the Indian Center — Graduating from high school, getting a federal job at the VA Hospital, marriage, then returning to school at Cal State Dominguez Hills -- Description of parents' education — Remembrance of any racial or gender biases within the workforce and in Oklahoma — College experiences and participation with American Indian Free Clinic — Finding a job after college and years with Indian Center as area director — Taking position as Associate for Native American Congregational Enhancement with the Presbyterian Church -- Years in Kentucky and moving back — Identification with the term urban Indian — Final thoughts and personal evaluation of relocation program.