Chapter 9 Summary
After returning from New York, Junior climbs the tribal water tower with a loaded gun. While standing at the railing, he puts the butt of the rifle on the ground and leans his face into the barrel. A crowd has formed below him. Tribal cops have arrived.
The rest of the Coyote Springs band members are at Thomas’s house on lockdown, unaware of what Junior is doing. The tribal police have told them to stay inside because death threats have been circulating throughout the reservation. Everyone is angry at Coyote Springs for their failure in New York. Most of the death threats, however, have come from White Hawk.
After Victor, Thomas, and Chess fall asleep, Checkers sneaks out a back window and walks to the Catholic Church, where she finds Father Arnold. He is crying. Checkers goes to him and asks him what the problem is. Father Arnold tells Checkers that he is leaving the reservation. He cannot stay there any more. He does not know if he can even remain a priest. Checkers tells Father Arnold he cannot abandon her because she loves him. Father Arnold tells Checkers that this is the problem. He has been dreaming about her, but he should not be doing so. He has dedicated his life to God. Later, when Father Arnold calls his bishop to resign, the bishop refuses to accept Father Arnold’s resignation.
In New York, Sheridan is making a proposition to Mr. Armstrong, the head of the record company. Betty and Veronica are in the studio waiting to audition. Armstrong is not impressed with the women or their music. Sheridan tells Armstrong that the women are part Indian. They could change the way they dress. They could dye their hair black and wear braids and have plastic surgery on their faces to give them higher cheekbones. Then they would pass for being Indians. They could sing Indian songs. Armstrong goes along with the idea. Sheridan presents the plan to Betty and Veronica, and they agree to it.
Mr. Wright, the other part of the business duo who brought Coyote Springs to New York, will have nothing to do with managing Betty and Veronica. He walks out of the studio and hails a taxi; he asks the driver to take him to California. Once he arrives on the West Coast, Wright goes to his wife’s gravesite and tells her he has come home. Then Wright breaks down sobbing. He tells his wife his is guilty of killing all the Indian horses, the ones Big Mom has been mourning.
Back on the Spokane Reservation, Thomas and Chess discuss where they want to live. Thomas does not want to leave his people. Chess wants to return to her tribe. They also wonder if they could survive living away from both reservations.