Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Daunis runs the next morning. Everything feels normal—except she misses running with Jamie and resents that fact. At EverCare, Mom is reading Jane Austen to GrandMary, as usual. Daunis never liked Jane Austen much; Lily always talked about books with the adults. Daunis tells Mom that she’s spoken to her boss, who told her she doesn’t have to go back to work. She says she’s running errands today, but she doesn’t tell Mom that she’s going with Ron and Jamie to Marquette to visit the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Daunis is still grieving Lily, and part of this is seeing all the places where Lily will never again be, such as here at EverCare chatting about Jane Austen with GrandMary and Mom. This realization makes Daunis appreciate Lily more for what Lily brought to the community—and it suggests that Daunis may decide at some point to try to step up and fill some of those roles.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Ron and Jamie pick Daunis up a bit later. Daunis and Ron exchange The Godfather jokes, and then Daunis insists that “Secret Squirrel” training starts now. Jamie doesn’t get the reference, but Ron does. He says Daunis can only speak about the investigation when he or Jamie say it’s safe, and he warns that they’ll only tell Daunis what she needs to know. They can’t direct her to do things—like search hockey players’ bags for burner phones—but she can volunteer information. Ron turns into a driveway, which leads to a three-car garage. It’s a drop-off spot where Daunis can drop trash bags from hockey players. Daunis refuses to take trash and promises herself that she won’t snoop on Levi or her friends. Still, Ron gives her a garage door opener.
Despite the generational difference, Ron and Daunis share way more cultural references than Daunis and Jamie do. Secret Squirrel was a cartoon character originally from the 1960s who appeared on television again briefly in 1993, so there were opportunities for both Daunis and Ron (depending on his exact age) to watch Secret Squirrel shows as children. When it comes to the garage and the veiled request that Daunis collect Supes’ trash, Daunis begins to realize that this isn’t all fun and games. She may be asked to do things that go against her conscience—and for now, at least, her loyalty is to Levi and the local boys she trusts.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Ron resumes the drive to Marquette and says that Daunis will have to learn how to make meth. She and Jamie will take a trip to a federal lab soon. Daunis realizes Jen isn’t real—but still, she’s more disturbed about a trip with Jamie and people thinking she stole him than she is about learning to make meth. Ron says it's Daunis’s choice whether she wants to pose as Jamie’s friend or a girlfriend, but he can’t join them on the trip. Daunis must develop the appearance of a relationship with Jamie so they don’t tip people off.
Daunis cares deeply about her reputation, especially the bits of it that she can control. For instance, she can behave in such a way that won’t result in people labeling her as a boyfriend stealer. But now, to help the investigation, Ron is saying that she must at least consider allowing her reputation to slide. This may have long-term consequences for Daunis if it damages her standing in the community.
Themes
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
At the Attorney’s office, a higher-up reads the CI instructions to Daunis. Basically, Daunis is supposed to voluntarily give truthful information, and she shouldn’t do anything illegal. (This is confusing; Ron said she was going to learn to make meth.) The higher-up mentions that any payments will be taxed, and Daunis scowls that she doesn’t want to be paid. Ron says they want information on the team, the Tribe, and the Sault. They need information on the traditional medicines Travis might’ve been adding to the meth. The pen they give Daunis to sign the forms is heavy and fancy, and this whole thing feels wrong. Daunis knows it’s not right to experiment with traditional medicines for the FBI. Thinking of what Lily, Auntie, and Gramma Pearl would do, Daunis realizes she’s the only one who can help. She can do things her own way. She signs.
From the beginning, the CI agreement doesn’t seem to prioritize Daunis or her Ojibwe community—it prioritizes the investigation above all else. It’s unclear, for instance, if Daunis would perhaps get in trouble for learning to make meth, even with Ron’s blessing, since as far as she knows, doing so is illegal. Further, and most disturbingly for Daunis, it’s clear that the feds aren’t interested in respecting traditional medicines and Ojibwe culture. So, Daunis realizes that she and the feds are coming to this investigation with very different perspectives. As a member of the local Ojibwe community, Daunis cares about the investigation successfully getting rid of the meth that’s decimating her community. But she also knows that she must honor her roots and protect traditional knowledge, a heavy task.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Quotes
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On the way home, Daunis daydreams like she hasn’t in years. She used to daydream about Dad being at Levi’s hockey games, but now, she dreams about shopping for books and school supplies with Lily. Coming back to the present and noticing the signs for Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Daunis tells Ron to stop. She leads them to the waterfall’s observation deck and explains to Ron, who’s awestruck, that the water is brown because of tannins leaching from the cedar swamps. Daunis volunteers that cedar is a cleansing, purifying medicine. Then, she admits that she’s honoring her grieving traditions, so she can’t collect medicines for a year. She’ll find information another way.
By telling Ron and Jamie about cedar’s medicinal properties, Daunis attempts to show them that her culture is richer than just whatever compound was in the meth-X. Cedar, incidentally, is described as the exact opposite of the compound in meth-X; it’s “cleansing” while the nefarious compound reads as contaminating. This explicitly highlights that traditional medicines aren’t just harmful. Finally, as Daunis explains why she can’t collect medicines, she makes it clear that her loyalty is to her Ojibwe culture. It offers her these restorative traditions that help her heal. The same cannot yet be said for the investigation, as Daunis doesn’t trust it’ll help.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Ron accepts this, but he asks if Daunis might apply for tribal membership by her birthday on October 1. It might help. Daunis refuses and asks what Uncle David found out about the investigation. Ron says that David was collecting mushrooms on Duck Island, but he wouldn’t tell them exactly where he was looking. Privately, Daunis wonders why. Were the FBI following him? Are they going to follow her? Daunis and Jamie race up the stairs back to the parking lot, and Daunis flips Jamie off. As Ron arrives with the car keys, she tells Jamie that they’re not friends and will only speak about the investigation.
Daunis doesn’t elaborate, but she seems to see Ron’s request that she enroll in the Tribe as purely convenient for him and for the investigation. However, enrolling will affect Daunis legally and will change how others in the community see and treat her; it’s not something to take lightly. This misguided request, then, seems to encourage Daunis to consider whether the FBI has her best interests at heart (and whether they actually cared about David). For now, it seems like they don’t—so it’ll be up to Daunis to protect herself.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon