Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That afternoon, Daunis gives her group a language lesson as they put on hats and scarves for free skate with the Sault Ste. Marie Superiors hockey team. The Supes are an elite Junior A league team—they’re basically gods. Levi, Daunis’s younger brother and a high school senior, is the team captain. He and a new player are skating with Perry and Pauline, Daunis’s six-year-old cousins. Daunis skates over to them, ignoring the new player introducing himself as Jamie Johnson, and then pulls her cousins around the rink with her scarf. Dad used to do this with Daunis and Levi; his scarf was jade green. Daunis doubles back toward the boys and turns to stop, spraying them with ice shavings. Jamie looks shocked.
Describing the Supes as “basically gods” lets readers know that the boys involved have special privileges and are universally loved and revered in the Sault. Indeed, that the Supes are skating with the kids makes it seem like the kids are getting to hang out with actual celebrities. Daunis seems like a skilled skater herself, so spraying the boys with ice shavings reminds everyone (readers and characters alike) that the Supes are just human, even if they do occupy a special place in the Sault.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Perry falls and gets back up again, but Pauline pleads with Daunis to help her. Remembering Dad’s advice, Daunis tells Pauline to get up herself and scolds Jamie when he helps Pauline up. From across the ice, Lily makes a lewd gesture at Daunis—she, like everyone else, is enamored with mysterious, handsome Jamie. Daunis isn’t convinced he’s worth it, though the scar on his face is intriguing. As the twins skate away and Levi skates over, Daunis reveals that she’s staying in town to attend Lake State. Levi spins Daunis around, overjoyed, and says he’ll bring the beer tomorrow night. He skates away.
Dad looms large in Daunis’s life; he connects her to her Firekeeper and Anishinaabe heritage, but his advice also guides Daunis’s day-to-day life. Lily’s lewd gesture, and Daunis’s interest in Jamie, reminds readers that these are two normal teens interested in boys and relationships. Daunis, however, reads as potentially more practical than Lily in this regard, if she’s not convinced that Jamie is “worth it.”
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Jamie says he wishes Daunis was a senior, but at least she won’t have to suffer through his uncle Ron’s science class. Daunis’s nose tingles; she explains that Ron is taking her Uncle David’s job and that David is dead. Privately, Daunis is angry at David for how he died. Mom fainted when she heard the news and insisted that David had only ever drunk alcohol; he’d never used other substances. Jamie offers his condolences.
Jamie, of course, has no way to know that his uncle is taking Daunis’s uncle’s job. But it’s clear that this is a really sensitive subject for Daunis, particularly since she shares so little with Jamie and is pretty cagey about what she shares with the reader. It seems likely that David died due to some sort of substance use or abuse, and that the particulars of his death seriously shook Daunis’s family.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
From the edge of the ring, Teddie motions for Daunis. Jamie and Lily follow. Teddie introduces herself to Jamie and asks what tribe he’s from. He says he’s Cherokee, but he didn’t grow up around family. Then, Teddie asks Daunis to take the girls for the afternoon. Something came up at work: someone ordered T-shirts with owls on them saying “Be wise. Immunize!” Jamie is confused, so Daunis says owls are there when people cross over after death—so they’re a terrible mascot for a vaccination campaign. Teddie says it’s their responsibility to the community to fix this, so they’re rush-ordering new shirts. She leaves. Daunis watches Jamie lift Pauline up. He’s clearly had pairs figure skating training, like Daunis—GrandMary insisted on it, but she allowed Daunis to play hockey, too.
Because Jamie didn’t grow up around his Native family or community, he understands little about Native animals’ significance—owls are sinister in this culture, not wise. As Teddie sees it, this is a regrettable mistake that could’ve been avoided had the person who ordered the shirts had more cultural education. But that aside, it’s her job to make sure that the vaccination campaign succeeds, and that means not putting out T-shirts that associate vaccines with death. Her decision shows that doing the difficult thing is worth it if it means keeping people safe and healthy.
Themes
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
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Almost angrily, Lily says it’s a shame Daunis insists on keeping “Hockey World” and “Regular World” separate and so won’t even try to get Jamie to break up with his girlfriend. Just then, Lily’s ex-boyfriend, Travis, appears and calls for Lily. Lily skates away, and Daunis blocks Travis from coming onto the ice. He insists he’s clean, but Daunis refuses to move. Unlike all the guys (like TJ) who have lied to Daunis, Daunis can tell Travis is telling the truth. He says he’ll do anything to get her back. Remembering what Lily said he did—offered her a “love medicine”—Daunis tells Travis to get clean for himself, not for Lily. He agrees, looking almost like the happy, smart boy Daunis used to be friends with.
For now, Lily seems totally uninterested in giving Travis the time of day, but Daunis still feels compelled to protect her friend and make sure Travis doesn’t continue to push Lily. If Travis is insisting that he’s “clean,” this means he’s likely struggling with drug use or addiction of some sort. Still, Daunis seems to sense that Travis doesn’t care about getting well because it’ll make him healthier and happier. His goal is getting Lily to agree to get back together with him, which leads Daunis to question his commitment to getting and staying clean. Modifying one’s behavior for someone else, in other words, isn’t something the novel suggests is the best, most motivating reason to do so. 
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