rain back coverA Chapter From RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME





Warning: this page gives away some events and language from the novel.

Memory Ticklers

  1. In the journal entry, who is Galen planning to take to the dance?
  2. What was Mrs. Owen’s rule?
  3. What kind of food do Natalie and Fynn bring to Rain?
  4. Who is Hannesburg’s only known vegetarian?
  5. When Natalie and Fynn got engaged, who proposed to whom and how?
  6. Who in Rain’s family is a member of the Hannesburg City Council?
  7. Who told Mrs. Owen that Rain was not participating in Indian Camp?
  8. Who has Natalie hired to help her out at the Hannesburg Weekly Examiner?

For Book Talks Or For Your Journal

interracial romances

In the Moo Shu and Peace journal entry, Galen, who is white, asks Rain, who is Irish-Scottish-Muscogee-Cherokee-Ojibway, if she would ever date an African American person. Interracial relationships were historically—and sometimes still are today—controversial. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1967, the year I was born, that the United States Supreme Court, in a case called Loving vs. Virginia, struck down miscegenation laws against interracial marriage. Later in the story, Rain wonders if Galen broke up with Queenie because of her race. Rain also wonders if Galen had hesitated to become involved with her because she’s an Indian. Ultimately, she decides that it was his mother’s overprotectiveness that motivated him.

What do you think motivated him and why?

Do you think Rain’s strong feelings for Galen helps her see him more or less clearly than other people? Why?

where you’re comin’ from

Rain describes Natalie’s home, Johnson County, as “a Kansas City suburb where shopping malls are sacred, parking is plentiful, the tallest tree is five years old, and every other restaurant serves fried cheese.”

Does this description tell you anything about what Rain thinks of Johnson County?

As a small town girl, why might she feel this way?

In the novel, The Flash is from a big city, St. Louis. Dmitri and Marie are from an Indian reservation as well as the big city of Minneapolis. Natalie and Spence are from the suburbs. Most everybody else is from a small town.

How do these influences affect them as characters?

Where are you from? A reservation, a small town, a suburb, or a big city?

How do you think you might be different if you lived somewhere else?


Would you describe the tone of Mrs. Owen’s letter to the editor as straightforward, friendly, business-like, or high falutin’?

Why do you think she took this tone?

How does it affect you as a reader?

Write a letter to the editor in response to Mrs. Owen. What kind of a tone did you take and why?

conflict of interest

Natalie tells Rain that if she joins Indian Camp, she will not be able to cover it as a photojournalist because that would be a conflict of interest, meaning Rain would be too close to the story to cover it without bias.

Being a member of the Native community, do you think that Rain can cover the story without bias in either case, or does that tie give her a special insight that will make her photographs both more respectful and storytelling? Why?

Author Insights

One of the challenges in writing Rain was that, despite her sense of humor, she is so withdrawn and noncommunicative at the beginning of the book. She doesn’t want to go anywhere or do anything with anybody (including me, the author of her story). It’s a major accomplishment for her to go to the neighborhood grocery store.

To spur her into reconnecting with the world, I had to create a scenario in which she felt absolutely obligated to do something. By accidentally tilting the Aunt Georgia-Mrs. Owen power struggle in favor of Mrs. Owen, Rain becomes responsible for the fallout—Mrs. Owen’s letter to the editor, which uses Rain’s non-participation in Indian Camp against Aunt Georgia’s request—and therefore must take some action to at least repair the damage she has done. Basically, I had to offer her some incentive, some motivation to break her behavior pattern.