The decision made at the tribal council was in a way a victory and a loss for each party. The novel refuses to choose one over the other. The novel concludes inside Alice's consciousness, as she thinks about her upcoming marriage to Cash and the way her family is transforming. Interestingly, the novel also began inside Alice's head. Her consciousness frames the book—she has the first and last word. The reader should think about this authorial decision in terms of the book's moral scheme. Alice found her place in the world when she began to experience Cherokee life and culture. At the same time, she was true to her daughter till the end. She never would have claimed that anyone else could provide Turtle a better life.
Alice is thus the ideal mediator between both worlds. Even in the first chapter, when she wallows in her loneliness, she imagines Taylor and Sugar both—two women who make her feel less alone, one her Caucasian daughter, the other her Cherokee cousin. Alice's character is thus consistent with the book's decision to value both lifestyles equally. Although white America has been the perpetrator of horrific atrocities against the Cherokee people, Taylor is not guilty by association; her goodness cannot be undermined because her race has caused so much suffering. At the same time, Taylor has to concede something to the tribe that has already lost so many of its members to a world more tyrannical and more powerful. The novel, therefore, does not allow Annawake or Taylor the last word. Instead, it ends in the Alice's thoughts, where a new kind of family configuration is possible.