Chapter 10 Summary
Thomas and his friends hold a wake and funeral for Junior. His body has been laid into a homemade coffin, which is resting on Thomas’s kitchen table. Only a few people besides the members of the Coyote Springs attend. Some anonymous people have sent flowers.
Big Mom mourns Junior. She wishes she had seen Junior’s troubles and helped him. Although it might be too late for Junior, Big Mom is determined to walk all the way to Thomas’s house so she might help the members of the band that remain. Before she leaves, she gives Robert Johnson a harmonica she has carved out of a special piece of wood. Big Mom tells Johnson that he is no longer a guitar player. He should concentrate on playing the harmonica. She is pleased that Johnson has regained his health while staying with her.
As Big Mom walks past the Catholic Church, she finds Father Arnold packing his things into his car. The bishop has found a replacement for him, and Arnold is leaving the reservation. Big Mom talks him into escorting her to Thomas’s place. Along the way, Father Arnold tells Big Mom about his attraction to Checkers. He asks her what he should do, but Big Mom tells him she has no opinion. He must make his own decision.
Later, as the small group of people stand around Junior’s grave, Big Mom asks if anyone has last words they want to say. Victor is the first one to speak. He says that Junior never hurt anyone. Big Mom adds that Junior only hurt himself. Thomas remembers Junior as someone who really tried hard to be good.
Victor makes up a story about Junior. He tells everyone that Junior has a child. The truth is that Victor got a white woman pregnant when he was in college but the woman had an abortion. But Victor wants people to have a nice impression of Junior, something to remember him by, so he continues his story about the son. Chess looks down the road and tries to imagine what that child might look like. Then she has a pretend conversation with Junior and the white mother, telling them what a difficult life the child will have being half-Indian and half-white. Neither group will fully accept the child, she warns.
Chess, Checkers, and Thomas decide they want to leave reservation life and move to Spokane, a city about an hour away. Chess has found a job there. Before they leave, Big Mom convinces them to attend a big dinner that is being held in the Long House. The...
(The entire section is 672 words.)