Although Tayo in no way feels that he is white, he does feel a sense of separation from his community, which he is desperate to overcome. The metaphor for belonging to a community is belonging to a family. Since Tayo was raised by his aunt, he has always felt, just slightly, like an outsider even in his family. This again is in great part a result of cultural conflict. While family units in Native American culture often consist of several generations as well as groups of siblings living together—as is reflected in Old Grandma and Josiah's easy acceptance of Tayo—in white culture the nuclear family is most valued, as is reflected in Auntie and Rocky's initial reactions to Tayo. Tayo's desperation to feel a sense of complete belonging in his family is shown in his tremendous reaction to Rocky's first pronouncement that they are brothers, rather than cousins.

The effects of internalized racism are again demonstrated as Emo assumes that since he is half-white, Tayo would think that he is better, rather than worse, than those who are of full Native American ancestry. In addition, however, Emo maintains a certain belief that races ought to remain separated. Although he proudly tells stories of his exploits with white women, he criticizes Tayo's mother for liking white men, and he criticizes Tayo for liking the Japanese.

The poem offers a possible cure for the drought. The cure requires a messenger, and a ceremony. As Tayo's story is reflected in the poem, we know that in order to cure Tayo and end the drought of his time, a similar set of events is necessary. Tayo already stands out as the perfect messenger, but Ku'oosh, the medicine man, has warned him that the ceremony he has undergone is no longer effective.