On the edge of downtown Los Angeles, Rae Marie Martinez looks for familiar landmarks. The 60-something grandmother turns in a slow circle and shakes her head. In 1957, she still had long braids and wore long dresses.
People made fun of her back then. "I remember they used to kick my heels all the way to school," Martinez says.
Los Angeles County is home to the largest urban American Indian population — more than 160,000. In 1952, the federal government created the Urban Relocation Program, which encouraged American Indians to move off reservations and into cities such as Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. They were lured by the hope of a better life, but for many, that promise was not realized.
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