Almost five years later, she’s come a long ways — and more than the 400 or so miles from “Flag” to the City of Vision.
Makila (“muh-KI-luh”), 16, was wary of leaving her hometown, grandparents and the nearness of Navajo Nation in the winter of 2015. But she and her mother, Shannon James, who had a new job as a medical assistant at UNM-Sandoval Regional Medical Center, made the move, and Makila found herself with a new batch of friends at Eagle Ridge Middle School.
“At the beginning, I did (fit in),” she said. “A lot of people kind of accepted me, but down the line, you know, middle-schoolers nowadays get into trouble and that’s what happened. … I’m not friends with them anymore.”