That night, Fools Crow is unable to sleep. He thinks about the men’s conversation earlier in the evening, in which Sturgis had told them not to allow Pikunis from other bands to enter their lodges. The white-scabs disease will be carried on their clothing and horses, he’d said, and it is best to stay away. Many of the men refuse to do this—they have family members in the outlying bands and will not deny them entry into their homes.
Here, the Pikunis’ deep sense of community is working against them. The Lone Eaters find it impossible to turn their backs on members of their own families and tribes, even if they are sick and contagious. Because of this, the white-scabs disease is sure to decimate their camp.
The men went back and forth all night discussing whether to stay in camp or move, and unable to reach a consensus, they are now at an impasse. Fools Crow notes that it is “as though the men had decided, individually and without thinking about it, that they would not allow the Napikwans to drive them from their land.” He didn’t remind them of the advantages of a move, and the men refuse to return the Napikwan horses.
The impasse is a reflection of the Pikunis’ commitment to community and their dedication to their way of life—even if it kills them. As a product of the Napikwans, the white-scabs disease is symbolic of the Napikwans themselves, and the Pikunis will not yield to the virus either.
Fools Crow is troubled that they have made no decisions and knows that no matter what, their way of life is certain to change. If he does manage to convince the others to move to Canada to escape the white-scabs disease, their land will surely be in Napikwan hands by the time they return. Unsure of what to do, Fools Crow turns to his dreams for guidance.
Fools Crow turns to his dreams because his circumstances seem so hopeless. Dreams hold great power and insight in Pikuni culture, and consulting his dreams is Fools Crow’s best bet to save his people.