- Cole Matthews – The fifteen-year-old in the story with many behavior issues and abusive parents. He later learns how to control his anger, how to apologize, and to forgive.
- William Matthews – Cole's father who has drinking problems and a bull-headed temper. He usually hurts Cole with a belt and that was the main cause of Cole's social problems. Abused himself as a child, drinking and then hurting Cole is his way of dealing with the problems he never dealt with when he was young.
- Peter Driscal – A ninth grader who Cole has bullied and brutally attacked. He develops permanent brain damage along with the physical issues he received from the beating he took from Cole. Aside from this, Peter eventually forgives him after Cole changes his attitude and the two become friends.
- Garvey – A parole officer. He shows Cole to the Circle Justice and helps Cole in every way he can. He and Edwin are the only people who help Cole succeed in what he is doing. Garvey gives Cole a blanket called an a'toow in the beginning, showing his trust in Cole.
- Edwin – An elder who wants Cole to improve. Edwin shows Cole to a freezing pond on an island, the ancestor rock, and lets Cole take care of his violent anger. He was very wise and knew how to heal Cole because he went to the Alaskan Island himself as a youth. He taught Cole the things that helped him.
- Cindy Matthews – Cole's mother who is scared of her drunk former husband and does not stand up for herself and others. Throughout the book, she learns self-control and how to stand up to her ex-husband, and files child abuse charges to him for beating their son, Cole. She later apologizes to Cole for not being there during her past husbands ruthless beatings on him. She promises she will make-up for never being involved in his life. While Cole returned to the island for the second time she sent countless letters to him while knowing he could not contact the outside world.
- Mr. Driscal – Peter's father who completely doesn't trust Cole when Peter goes and lives on the island.
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