At the end, when Junior and Rowdy play basketball, how is their friendship reconnected based on their shared experiences and cultural understanding?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited.  The regeneration of trees and natural life around the reservation at the end of the narrative is reflective of how Junior and Rowdy have seen a regeneration in their relationship.  Both Junior and Rowdy understand that each has to follow their own path.  Rowdy accepts that Junior had to find his dream and he is happy about that.  Junior recognizes that his life will be a dual consciousness.  One part of his being will always be linked to the Rez and what it means to be Native American.  Another part of his identity will be in Reardan and in the world of the Whites.  Both Junior and Rowdy recognize this about one another and through this, reconciliation is evident.

The basketball game is significant. There is no score between them.  There is no dominant force, no superior being.  It is simply a contest between two equally compatible forces, competing with one another for the love of the game and one another.  It is in this where their shared experiences and cultural understanding can be seen.  There is no longer an antagonism between them where "score" has to be kept.  Rather, it is a joyful spirit of competition because of the love of the game and for one another.  This only happens because of their recognition of their past and how this will always bind them in the present and future.   The ending is one in which being Native American in a White society is no longer a source of threat or imposition.  It is simply a part of being if one does not "keep score."

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