Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 35 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Daunis continues reading Uncle David’s journal. Once he began working with the FBI, he started researching mushrooms and foraging on Duck Island. Daunis smiles—they canvassed the island in the same manner. In April, David found a parasitic mushroom that grew on a hallucinogenic host; the parasitic mushroom might also be hallucinogenic. However, it turns out it isn’t, and Uncle David writes that there is no connection between mushrooms and “bad medicine,” or meth. Daunis knows that David wanted her, not the FBI, to know this information. The last entry mentions that David went to see Light Bulb’s mom on Good Friday. Mom reported David missing two days later. Daunis sobs with grief. In the formal dining room, she thanks David for giving her the clues and the tools she needs.
Essentially, what Uncle David discovers through his research is that the FBI is incorrect: mushrooms aren’t what make meth-X so potent. David also seems, like Daunis, concerned for the community, hence his choice to go visit Light Bulb’s mom, presumably to intervene and try and help the student. It’s especially difficult for Daunis to realize that David died trying to help, as it reminds her of the kind, loving, and caring person David was—and that she wrote him off at the end, when she suspected he’d begun drinking excessively again. 
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis drives to Jamie and Ron’s house and invites them for a walk. She decides to pump them for information. She begins by saying that she’s finished canvassing Duck Island, but if the FBI began working with Uncle David in January and the kids in Minnesota got sick in February, they won’t find the same mushrooms. Daunis asks how the kids are doing now, and she asks what their hallucinations were like. Ron says they hallucinated small men coming after them. Daunis privately knows what happened: the Little People, which are real, scolded the kids, but the FBI attributed the kids’ stories to something hallucinogenic in meth-X. There was something else potent in that meth.
Ron, despite being Native, seems to totally write off the possibility that the kids’ hallucinations were anything but hallucinations—discrediting Anishinaabe culture and beliefs. And again, he doesn’t answer when Daunis asks how the kids in Minnesota are doing, highlighting that communities’ long-term health isn’t his focus. He just wants to find the meth and whoever’s peddling it. This highlights the difference in Daunis’s and Ron’s approaches: Daunis is willing to look through a Native lens. This is something Ron is ostensibly trying to do (he made Daunis the CI, after all), but practically, he’s failing.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Trying to hide her excitement, Daunis asks what to work on next and asks for a clue. Then, she realizes Ron already gave her one weeks ago, when he told her that he couldn’t tell her to search the hockey team’s bags for burner phones. Back at Ron and Jamie’s house, Ron goes inside and Jamie leads Daunis behind the Jeep. Daunis is hungry for a kiss—but Jamie kisses her forehead and says he knows what she was doing. Daunis has no idea what Jamie thinks he knows. As Daunis turns onto her street, she sees Auntie in the driveway—Daunis forgot her promise to visit at eight, two hours ago. As soon as Daunis pulls in the drive, Auntie gets out and says that Daunis can drive herself to Sugar Island or ride with her.
Keep in mind that Daunis is acting as she talks to Ron and Jamie together. She’s working hard to convince them that pursuing David’s mushroom research is a temporary dead end because she trusts David—not the FBI—with the information that mushrooms aren’t contaminating meth-X. This, of course, raises the question of who or what David is trying to protect by hiding this information, but it seems possible he’s simply trying to protect other Native traditional medicines that the FBI might misunderstand or abuse. In this way, he continues to look out for Daunis.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon