Goodacre decided she needed a model for her portrait of Sacagawea. She met with three young Indian women—one from the Navajo tribe and two from the Comanche—but none seemed exactly right. Goodacre then asked for help from the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe. The IAIA is the only Indian-operated school of art in the United States.
On the IAIA’s staff was a Cree Indian woman named Bonnie Teton. She showed Goodacre photographs of her four daughters. Immediately, the sculptor was struck by twenty-one-year-old Randy’L, whose father is half Shoshone and half Bannock Indian. She seemed a perfect model for Sacagawea. Randy’L Teton had long black hair and large dark eyes just as Sacagawea did according to Shoshone legend.
As luck would have it, Teton lived nearby in the city of Albuquerque, where she was a student at the University of New Mexico. She agreed to spend a Saturday working with Goodacre at her Santa Fe studio. Teton had never been a model before and didn’t quite what to expect. She found that the job meant a fun, but exhausting day of having herself photographed from every angle. In some photos, Goodacre used a baby doll as a prop. She had Teton hold the doll on her back in a blanket just as Sacagawea had probably held her own baby.