Rain Is Not My Indian Name: Malibu Pocahontas

Quick Questions

  1. Who did Rain pick as the subject of her third grade class report?
  2. Who first gave Rain a toy camera?
  3. What room does Rain call “spacious, uncharted territory?”
  4. What kind of film does Rain use?
  5. What question is The Flash trying to answer about Native people in Hannesburg?
  6. What deal do he and Rain shake on?
  7. Who has left a message at Rain’s house?
  8. What is Natalie doing at home?

For Book Talks Or Your Journal


When Rain went as a third-grader to the library for her report on an important person, she wanted to focus on a Native woman. Why do you think Rain made her choice?

Why is this chapter called Malibu Pocahontas?


Although Aunt Georgia is Rain’s mentor through the large part of this story, it’s also clear that Grampa Berghoff has been her mentor with her photography. Who are the mentors in your life? What have they meant to you and why?


Rain explains that she sometimes considers using color film, “but Grampa always says that true artists shoot the highlights and the shadows because stories live in shades of gray. He says color can hide the truth.” Do you think this has any meaning to the story besides photography? If, so explain.


Until realizing that Natalie is pregnant, Rain is very upset when she first discovers Natalie rearranging the master bedroom. Rain particularly doesn’t like Natalie touching Mama’s things. Why do you think Rain feels this way?

Author Insights

Indigenous identity

In this chapter, Rain has to tell The Flash that she is Muscogee. He doesn’t recognize her as a Native girl on sight. In writing Rain and her big brother Fynn, I created a family wherein one child, Fynn, has more traditional Native features and the other child, Rain, physically takes more after her European ancestors—at least in relationship to their skin coloring.

But of course, not all of the characters in the book have grown up with equal exposure to their cultures. Queenie, in joining the summer camp program, is taking a first step toward embracing her Native roots. There is a lot of diversity within Indian Country and many of the tribal Nations.