Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Later that evening, Daunis borrows Mom’s car to drive Pauline and Perry to Auntie’s house on Sugar Island, where Daunis also plans to spend the night. On the ferry, Daunis hunches down to avoid Seeney Nimkee, an Elder who once made Daunis cry. Daunis spends the next few hours playing with the twins, helping get them to bed, and then chatting with Auntie. She tells Auntie she’s worried about her class schedule, but Auntie tells Daunis not to worry—Daunis’s name is on a dorm, after all. Daunis’s stomach sinks.
Daunis’s evening with Auntie and the twins shows readers that she’s connected to and close with both her Firekeeper relatives and her Fontaine relatives. But it also highlights that Daunis doesn’t necessarily feel like she fits in in either family. Auntie noting that the Fontaines have donated enough money to Lake State to get their name on a dorm reminds Daunis that she’s way better off financially than her Firekeeper relatives.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Art, Auntie’s husband, enters the kitchen just as Daunis’s phone buzzes with a text from Jamie, asking if it’s okay if he comes to Daunis’s party. This wasn’t supposed to be a real party; Lily and Daunis were just going to celebrate Daunis’s Lake State decision at GrandMary’s empty house and help themselves to the liquor cabinet. But Daunis asked Levi to get them beer, so it’s going to be a real party. Art chuckles at Daunis’s expression and Auntie jokingly says it’s probably the new Supe, Jamie—and she notes that his scar is too straight to be an accident. Daunis says Jamie’s uncle is taking David’s job, which is so unfair. Auntie reminds Daunis that fairness isn’t one of the Seven Grandfathers (love, humility, respect, honesty, bravery, wisdom, and truth) that guide the Anishinaabe way of life.
Daunis doesn’t seem to dwell on Auntie’s comment too much, if only because Jamie is genuinely distracting. The way the party has expanded makes it seem like Daunis and Lily are, perhaps, losing control of their evening, which may lead to unintended consequences. When Auntie notes that Jamie’s scar wasn’t accidental, it suggests there’s probably more to Jamie than Daunis knows, and it makes him even more mysterious. As Auntie reminds Daunis of the Seven Grandfathers, she encourages Daunis to lean into Anishinaabe customs and beliefs to deal with her grief. These customs, if Daunis follows them, can offer comfort.
Themes
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
When Auntie and Art go to bed, Daunis thinks about Jamie. He’s a skilled player who made the team despite being a nobody, and he’s Cherokee but isn’t connected to his community. Daunis wonders what that’s like. She’s a local through and through—the Firekeepers are one of the oldest families on Sugar Island, while GrandMary’s people were some of the first French fur traders. Still, Daunis sometimes doesn’t feel like she belongs. She texts Jamie that he can come, wondering if Levi had an ulterior motive by giving Jamie her number. He usually does.
Daunis and Jamie have a lot in common due to them both having one Native parent, but they still differ in important ways in terms of their experiences. Despite sometimes feeling like she’s on the outs, Daunis is also pretty connected to the Anishinaabe community on Sugar Island. Also worth noting here is that Levi is, apparently, a bit manipulative—a quality he may have developed due to the special treatment he gets as a Supe.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis jerks awake in the middle of the night when Auntie comes downstairs, whispering in a harsh voice about a blanket party. Hearing this, Daunis gets up, ignores Auntie’s glare, and follows her aunt. Blanket parties are what happens when a man mistreats a woman—the woman’s cousins take him into the woods and beat him. Daunis is desperate to go, but Auntie almost spits as she tells Daunis to go to college, “snag Jamie,” and live her nice life. Auntie leaves. Daunis has heard the rumors, usually funny ones, about Auntie’s fighting days—but this situation isn’t at all funny.
Auntie’s anger and refusal to let Daunis attend the blanket party is confusing for Daunis. Daunis feels like going is going to feel good, right, and just—she’ll be protecting one of her community members, after all. But Auntie subtly implies that blanket parties actually shouldn’t have to happen at all—that is, they wouldn’t happen if Native women had some of the privileges that Daunis, as a well-off and light-skinned woman, has.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
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