Reservation Blues Chapter 5 Summary
by Sherman Alexie

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Chapter 5 Summary

Coyote Springs makes its way to Seattle. The band members are exhausted by the time they arrive and stop at a motel. When the clerk inside asks Thomas how he is going to pay for the room, he calls the Backboard Club, where Coyote Springs is scheduled to play. He asks the manager if the club is paying for their rooms. Not only is the club not going to reimburse them for the motel, they are not even going to pay them the one thousand dollars unless Coyote Springs wins a contest. They are not hiring the band for a gig; they have only invited them to participate in a battle of the bands contest. The band members sleep in Thomas’s van, feeling disappointed.

The next day, they wander through Seattle, where they come across several old, drunken Indian men. Victor ends up playing guitar for one of the men, who earns money singing on the sidewalk. The old man has a beautiful voice. Victor and Junior reflect on their own lives. They wonder if they, too, will one day end up living on the streets.

Later, when the band shows up at the Backboard Club, they discover that more than twenty bands are competing against them. Betty and Veronica, the two White women who had traveled out to the reservation to hear Coyote Springs perform, appear at the club. They not only cheer for the band but end up singing with the band as backup vocalists. After Coyote Springs wins the competition, a local DJ interviews Thomas and asks if he thinks it is strange that an Indian band has two White women as members, and he wonders how Indians in the audience will feel about this. Thomas does not know how to answer these questions. He confesses that he and Chess were against including the women, but it does not matter now that they won.

Back on the reservation, Checkers goes to the Catholic Church to meet Father Arnold. She tells the priest how she has always envied White girls. They always looked so pretty and clean. In contrast, as she was growing up, Checkers always felt dirty. She recounts stories of two particular White girls visiting her Flathead reservation. The girls were...

(The entire section is 571 words.)