In chapter 5, "Aimlessness," the author, Mary Crow Dog, states that she has major differences with her mother and that these result not from a generation gap but a "generation Grand Canyon."
Mary's relationship with her mother is difficult and further exacerbated by her mother's harsh treatment of her other daughters, Barbara and Sandra.
She talks about a "wall of misunderstanding" between her and her mother, who was always concerned about conducting herself in a manner that would get her the approval of others. This supersedes her concern for the emotional well-being of her daughters.
For Mary's mother, it is important to be a good Christian and to stay on the right side of society. Mary is unable to adjust to her mother's puritanical values.
Finding it difficult to reconcile herself to such a mentality, Mary keeps to herself, showing little interest in things that girls of her age normally do. Her awareness of Indian history and her personal experiences influence her conduct with white people, "half-bloods," and "full-bloods."
When unable to take the stress of frequent confrontations with her mother, Mary leaves home one day without informing her.