Ora V. Eddleman Reed
The Advice Columnist
Ora Eddleman Reed was a Cherokee advice columnist and is considered the first Native broadcaster, male or female, in the United States.
Ora was born in Texas in 1880 and moved to Oklahoma at a young age. Her family purchased the Muskogee Morning Times in 1897.
Ora joined the family business as a reporter, editor and proofreader when she was just a teenager.
In 1898, Ora co-founded Twin Territories: The Indian Magazine.
She wrote a column, “What the Curious Want to Know,” where she answered white people’s questions about Native culture, often with exasperation and wry humor.
Many white male advice-seekers asked Ora how to find Native wives.
Ora clapped back at one writer: “the Indian girls out here have better sense than to advertise themselves in that matter… No, please don’t send your photograph. Your description sufficed.”
And at another: “Such questions as yours are really getting tiresome.” i.e. THIS IS NOT A DATING SITE
Some advice-seekers were concerned for their safety in Indian Territory.
One writer asked if he would be safe from cannibals there.
Ora retorted: “I don’t know whether to advise you to come here or not. I’d rather not advise at all, for if you should come, and the Indians here ‘ate you up,’ then you’d blame me.”
Another asked if he could safely bring his wife with him.
Ora taunted: “Yes, you are safe in bringing your wife with you—so far as I know. I am not acquainted with her, but if she doesn’t whip you, no one here will.”
In 1924, Ora and her husband moved to Wyoming.
Ora hosted a half-hour radio talk show there—thus becoming the first Native broadcaster.
Ora called herself “The Sunshine Lady.” She continued to answer letters and dispense her signature salty advice on the air.
Ora died at the age of 88 having spent much of her life dispelling myths about Native people, and frequently using humor to do it.
There’s no Wikipedia page for Ora, which is too bad. If someone has the skills and free time to make her a Wiki page, that would be awesome.
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