Matt won Attean's respect in a very unexpected way. When Attean invited Matt to leave with his tribe, Matt refused. Even though both Saknis and Attean reiterated their joint desire to have Matt with them as the tribe moved further north, Matt held steadfast to his decision to stay.
It was Matt's steadfast loyalty to his father and family that earned him respect in Attean's eyes. When Matt realized that his integrity had won him Attean's respect, he was initially shocked. After all, he had previously tried in numerous ways to earn his Indian brother's respect, but to no avail. It was only when he made his decision to keep his word to his father that Attean finally respected him as an equal.
There was no amusement and no scorn in Attean's eyes. How very strange, Matt thought. After all the brave deeds he had dreamed of to win this boy's respect, he had gained it at last just by doing nothing, just by staying here and refusing to leave.