.. . When Omishto returns home, she cuts her hair. Omishto has an English assignment. She must write an autobiographical essay.
She writes one that explains that she is a Taiga from the Panther Clan. She also tries to explain why Ama killed the panther. She writes that Ama is the most important person in her life. When she is finished, Omishto rips up the paper and decides not to turn the assignment in at all. The next day, instead of going to school, Omishto walks to Amas house. Omishto hopes that she will be there, but Omishto knows she will not.
During the next few days, Omishto and Ama are in court. On the way to court, a hailstorm wrecks Omishtos moms car. As Omishto reaches the courthouse door, reporters try to ask her questions. In the courtroom, a collar and a rifle sit on a table as evidence. Ama is there. Omishto is called to the stand, and the attorney questions her about the panther.
Omishto answers the questions truthfully. During the next day in court, Omishto is questioned again. The attorney reveals that the rifle on the table is not the one used to kill the panther. It is the rifle Ama took from the boys who treed the panther. The next day in court the Taiga tribal chairman speaks in Amas defense.
After the chairman, Ama is questioned. She tells the truth and that she knew what she was doing. She was not crazy. During the next day in court, Annie Hide is questioned. Janie Soto is also questioned. Janie says that Ama should have given them the panthers hide.
When the trial is over, there is not enough evidence to convict Ama of killing the panther. After the trial, Omishtos mother has a reporter come to the house to talk to Omishto. Omishto refuses to talk with him. She runs out the door and to Amas house. As Chapter 6, “The Place of Old Law,” opens two young Taiga men are picking up Omishto.
They are taking her to the place above Kili swamp. The old Taiga people want to talk to Omishto alone. One of the men mentions to Omishto something about her dead brother, Jerry. When they arrive at the place above Kili swamp, the two men take Omishto to a clearing where the old Taiga people live. Annie Hide greets Omishto and takes her to her seat around a fire. Ama and Janie Soto are also sitting near the fire. An old man named Joseph Post is also at the fire. The elders ask Omishto to tell her side of what happened out in the woods with the panther.
When Omishto tells the story this time, she tells more detail. The elders ask her a few questions, and Joseph points out that Ama did not bring the panther to the old Taiga people as she was supposed to. Omishto finally understands that Ama did not want to tell the old people the panther was sick because it would have broken their hearts. When Omishto is through with her story, the old Taiga people talk among themselves about Amas sentence. Omishto can not understand them because they are talking in their native language. They say something to Ama, and she stands up and backs out of the circle.
She is told to leave. After the meeting, Omishto runs home. Her mother asks her what happened, but Omishto does not know because she could not understand the Taiga peoples language. Omishto is packing her things. Her mother does not want her to leave and punches her. Omishto runs out of the house to her boat. She then decides to go look for Ama.
The reader learns that Ama has been sentenced to four years of walking. In Chapter 7, “Oni: What They Believe,” Omishto is sitting in her boat that is surrounded by fog. Omishto then explains what the word Oni means to the Taiga people. The Taiga people believe that Oni is the wind and air. It is like a god.
They believe that all the spirits in the world gather in the air. As Omishto sits in her boat, she recalls the meeting with the old Taiga people. The Taiga people believe that Oni is unwilling to carry sickness. Oni gives the Taiga people life. Annie Hide believes that words are very powerful.
She says that Oni was the word that the panther said to create people. Omishto says that she hears Annie Hide whisper to her in the air. Omishto also discusses her mothers religion. Omishto’s mother thinks Omishto loves Ama more than she loves her mother. As the fog lifts from Omishtos boat, Omishto thinks about Ama. Omishto understands that Ama had to kill the panther.
Ama believed it was her destiny because she was a friend with the panther. Omishto then goes on to tell about Sisa. After this, Omishto makes her way to Amas house. Omishto is scared while she is there because she thinks someone is trying to break in. In Chapter 8, “They Come to Me,” Omishto takes care of Amas house.
A man visits the house and says he wants to buy it. Omishto tells the man it is her house, and the man leaves. Several days pass, and Omishto washes her clothes in the tub. She hangs them outside to dry. Omishto sits on the porch and tells her father to come to her. Omishto repairs the house.
She goes to the gas station, but it is closed. A sheriff tries to talk Omishto into going back home. He is also looking for Ama. Omishto says she does not know where Ama is. Omishtos stepfather told the sheriff Ama was missing. The sheriff does not believe Omishto. The sheriff tells Omishto that she should go back to her mothers house.
Omishto says that she is staying at Amas house. The next day, Omishtos stepfather, Herm arrives at Amas house. He tells Omishto that she has to tell the truth. Omishto says that she has. He threatens to hit her, but leaves.
Omishto goes inside and sleeps. Omishtos mother visits her at Amas house. She wants to know when Omishto is going back to school and back home. Omishto says that she is going to live her own life. Omishto tells her mother to go home. Omishto goes inside.
Two days later, Donna visits. Donna says that Mother can not stop crying. She also says that the preacher of her mothers church was arrested. Donna says that people think Omishto is crazy, and they are sending a doctor to her. Omishto tells Donna that she is dropping out of school. Donna leaves. Omishto sleeps and dreams of the panther.
During the night, three boys approach Amas house. The boys are looking for Ama because they want to punish her. Omishto leaves through a back window as the boys throw rocks at Amas house. The next morning, Omishto goes to look for the rifle that was used to kill the panther. She digs up a rifle box, but it is empty. She also finds red beads that belong to Janie Soto.
Omishtos mother visits her again. Omishto says that she is not waiting for Ama to return. Omishto knows she will not. Omishto tells her mother that she is still not going back to her mothers house. Omishtos mother reveals that she has been to Kili. She tells Omishto that the doctor was Herms idea. She also says that she is leaving Herm. In the morning, Omishto sits outside.
Annie Hide is walking toward Amas house. Omishto smiles at her. The two women go inside. Annie tells Omishto that she did not want to send Ama away. Annie also says that she saw Ama a few days ago. Annie stays the night at Amas house with Omishto.
Annie leaves in the morning. In Chapter 9, “What I Have Left,” Omishto sits outside. She begins to walk to Kili. On her way, Omishto reflects on her life. She believes that the world is dying. When she reaches Kili, Omishto goes to Annie and Janies house. Before she enters, Omishto hears something in the bush.
It is a healthy panther. She tells the panther to run, and Omishto returns to Amas house. She goes to the pay phone and calls her mothers house. She asks Donna to pick up Amas animals because she is going home. Donna agrees because she thinks Omishto is moving back to her mothers house. While she is sitting on Amas porch, Omishto sees the four messenger women walk by again.
She walks with them to Kili. The people of Kili are waiting for Omishto when she arrives. Omishto dances with the women. Power shows many facts about Native American culture. Hogan uses various characters and their struggles to bring this culture to light.