When Junior is in Reardan (the white town), he is "half Indian," and when he is in Willpinit (his reservation), he is "half white." "It was like being Indian was my job," he says, "but it was only a part-time job. And it doesn't pay well at all." At Reardan High, why does Junior pretend he has more money than he does, even though he knows "lies have short shelf lives?"
I think Junior pretends he has more money than he actually does because he doesn't want the white kids at Reardan to think he is poor. Also, I think he doesn't want the kids there to judge him. I mean he is already being judges for being Indian. But, I think he doesn't want to be judged even more if people were to find out that he isn't rich. On page 55 of ATDPTI, Junior says, "We were poor enough to get free lunch, but I didn't want to be the only Indian and a sad sack who needed charity." Also, I think he pretends that he has a lot of money because since he has a slight interest in Penelope, I don't think he wants her to know that he's poor since she is the most popular girl at Reardan and think differently of him when she finds out that he is poor. Since people do not know that he is poor, Junior has suddenly gained popularity. If people were to find out that Junior was poor, I think they would see him differently. On page 110, Junior says, "But hey, I was kind of using her, too. After all, I suddenly became popular. Even the teachers started paying attention to me. I was mysterious. I looked and talked and dreamed and walked differently than everybody else. I was new." On page 119, he says, "My parents gave me just enough money so that I could pretend to have more money than I did." He also says, "And white people everywhere have always believed that the government just gives money to Indians. And since the kids and parents at Reardan thought I had a lot of money, I did nothing to change their minds. I figured it wouldn't do me any good if they knew I was poor." In addition, he also said, "I pretended to have a little money. I pretended to be middle class. I pretended I belonged. Nobody knew the truth." These quotes show how Junior is afraid what his peers are going to think of him if they were to find out that he doesn't have much money.