Calvin Johnson arrives at a powwow committee meeting, where everyone is chatting and eating. There is a “new guy” at the meeting—a tall, heavy young man. The head of the powwow committee, Blue—a friend of Maggie’s who got Calvin his job here—is writing on a yellow legal pad. Thomas, the custodian, comes into the room talking to himself and reeking of alcohol. The janitor introduces himself to the new guy, who says his name is Edwin Black. Thomas takes the trash out and leaves the room, and then Blue clears her throat and brings the meeting to order by asking everyone to go around and introduce themselves, starting with Edwin.
Many of the characters converge in this passage for the first time, highlighting the steadily mounting coincidences and connections which are building as the powwow approaches.
Edwin struggles to speak, offering up nervous half-sentences and explaining that he is an unenrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. As Edwin finishes up his intro, another new member of the committee walks into the room in a baseball cap. The man looks, to Calvin, like he’s white. Blue introduces the second new guy as Dene Oxendene, who is going to set up a storytelling booth at the powwow. Dene begins introducing himself, and Calvin tunes him out, struggling to think of a way to introduce himself and explain what he’s bringing to the powwow—he feels he’s done nothing in service of his job of bringing young Native artists and entrepreneurs in as vendors.
As Calvin finds himself surrounded by people who, in spite of their conflicting feelings about their Native identities, are giving their time and effort to the powwow, he questions his own motivations and shortcomings. He hasn’t done anything to help his community and is in fact actively participating in its destabilization—and while he’s been blaming his apathy on his cultural confusion, he’s now in the presence of people helping one another to work through that very tension.