Dad drives Junior the twenty-two miles to Reardan on his first day. He tells his son to just remember, that "those white people aren't better than (him)". Junior does not believe him, but he does gain strength from his father's obvious love for him. Dad tells Junior that he is "brave...a warrior". It is "the best thing he could have said".
There is no one at school yet when Junior gets there. When they white kids finally do begin to arrive, they just stare at him. Ironically, Reardan's mascot is an Indian, which makes Junior "the only Indian in town".
Junior is assigned to Mr. Grant's homeroom. Mr. Grant is "a muscular guy...a football coach". A blond girl asks Junior his name. Her name is Penelope.
When Mr. Grant calls roll, he calls Junior by his "name name", Arnold Spirit. Penelope is angry that he had told her his name was Junior, so Junior has to explain that "every other Indian calls him Junior", but he is both, Junior and Arnold. He tells her he is from the reservation, and she says he talks funny.
Most of the kids at Reardan ignore Junior, but the big jocks call him lots of names. One day, one of the boys, Roger, tells him a particularly offensive racist joke, and Junior punches him in the face. According to the unspoken rules of peer interaction with which he had grown up on the reservation, Junior had acted correctly, but the white boys are shocked, and walk away, saying Junior is "crazy". Realizing that the rules are different here, Junior is left completely confused (Chapter 8).