Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Robin’s parents are Catholic, so her funeral takes place three days after her death. Daunis has seldom been to church since GrandMary said Native Catholics were like converted Catholics: lesser. She insisted Daunis was a Fontaine, not “one of them.” During mass, Daunis muses that Robin clearly didn’t take her own advice that nobody needs to be a superhero, and she wonders if Robin’s addiction started when they were both injured during a game. Auntie refused to fill Daunis’s prescription for oxycodone, but did Robin’s parents fill hers? Remembering Robin cautioning her to not give her power to a guy, Daunis wonders who Robin gave her power to. She also knows that Jamie and Ron will see Robin as an addict and a dealer. Daunis must uncover Robin’s story. That’s the only way to help the investigation and the community.
Again, Daunis finds it not comfortable, per se, but easier to acknowledge that GrandMary wasn’t perfect. She was bigoted and downright mean at times, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t genuinely love her granddaughter. Though the Catholic mass differs greatly from Lily’s Ojibwe funeral, Daunis still finds the funeral restorative and takes the opportunity to reflect on what she knows. She knows that she, perhaps unlike Robin, had a family member willing and able to interrogate the doctor’s attempt to prescribe addictive opioids (though at this point in time, doctors and drug companies continued to insist that opioids were safe and non-addictive). Robin, Daunis realizes, is a victim. And Daunis is the only person who can make Ron and Jamie see Robin as a victim, not as someone responsible for her own misfortune.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Following the mass, Robin’s uncle invites everyone to the burial, lunch, and the benefit hockey game on Friday, which is also Daunis’s birthday. Daunis is playing on the Sault High team, and everyone in the community is pitching in. Saturday is Shagala. Skipping the funeral lunch, Daunis drives Granny June to the Elder Center and picks up semaa for Leonard Manitou on the way. Leonard isn’t there.
It’s important for Daunis to honor Robin, but for now, she chooses to prioritize caring for the Elders. However, it’s somewhat unclear if this is actually what’s going on here, since Daunis seems so intent on speaking to Leonard. The investigation is the only reason Daunis wants to do this, suggesting that she may be applying herself more to this task now than she has before.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis barely listens to the Elders debate how to know if someone is fluent in Anishinaabemowin, and Leonard walks in just as they finish. When Daunis heads for Leonard, Auntie appears and intercepts her. Outside, Auntie quietly asks if Daunis is playing on Friday. Auntie says Robin wouldn’t want Daunis to play, that Daunis is acting odd and losing her head over Jamie, and that TJ doesn’t trust Jamie. Enraged, Daunis says she thought Auntie would be on her side.
Recall that Auntie knows why Daunis isn’t playing hockey in college; it seems possible that Robin also knew what happened. As Auntie sees it, Daunis is making a number of concerning choices right now that call Daunis’s loyalty to her family and to the Tribe into question. However, Daunis doesn’t like or trust TJ, so she’s unwilling to take Auntie’s concern seriously right now.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Elders are quiet when Daunis returns to the dining room—they all know Auntie yelled and that Daunis likely deserved it. But something is changing between Daunis and Auntie, since Daunis yelled back. Focusing on her task, Daunis sits next to Leonard, passes him the semaa, and asks to hear about the Little People. She follows Auntie’s rules for asking for help—and kicks herself when, contrary to that advice, she prods Leonard to start his story in a specific spot. He describes getting lost as a five-year-old. The Little People led him through a huge boulder and then back again. He’d been gone two days.
Daunis doesn’t seem to fully grasp what’s changing between her and Auntie, but she’s growing up and beginning to engage with Auntie more like an adult, not like a kid under Auntie’s authority. This is a difficult transition for both Daunis and Auntie. Still, Daunis knows she needs to continue following Auntie’s advice as she speaks to Leonard, as Auntie is the expert on how to most respectfully engage with the Elders.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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Daunis has heard the Little People can be mischievous, but not malicious. She asks if they can be angry, and Leonard says a cousin used to sniff gasoline. The cousin said once that the Little People yelled at him, but Leonard says the cousin wasn’t all there. He died when he accidentally lit himself on fire.
Leonard doesn’t seem sold on the possibility that the Little People yell at Anishinaabe folks who get involved in dangerous substances. However, his cousin’s story parallels Travis’s, suggesting that perhaps Travis wasn’t hallucinating or crazy—there may have really been something scolding him for his actions.
Themes
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon