Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Daunis follows Levi along the shore and almost falls into the water once. She takes the opportunity to turn the watch’s tracker on. They reach a beat-up truck hidden in some pines, and Daunis recognizes it as the truck Dana used to bring her to Sugar Island. As they drive, Levi says he thought Daunis was too good to cheat. She says Grant raped her, but clearly, Levi believes what Mike told him—even when Daunis shows him her bruise. Daunis notes passing landmarks as she says that this is all so wrong. She asks if Levi was involved in Uncle David’s death, but Levi explains that Mike figured David would be more willing to make good product once he tried the meth. Mike believes David injected too much on purpose.
It’s another betrayal when Levi won’t believe that Grant raped Daunis. He’s essentially telling Daunis that he doesn’t trust her—he’d rather listen to his powerful friends and let them dictate his reality. Finally, Daunis gets more of the truth about David’s death. It seems as though Mike hoped to pressure David into cooking for the meth cell, just as he’s now trying to pressure Daunis to make the meth for them. David, though, sacrificed himself to save all the people his product might kill—prioritizing the community over his own life.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis asks about the pucks in her closet and if Levi will go along with it when Mike tries to convince her to cooperate. Though Levi insists Mike wouldn’t hurt Daunis, Daunis says that Mike is untrustworthy and disloyal. Levi takes a right turn—they’re headed north, where the tracker can pick up a signal. Daunis asks who else is involved. She’s angry, but relieved, when Levi says it’s him, Mike, and three other poor Zhaaganaash guys—it’s not just an “Indian thing.” Then, Daunis asks why Levi is involved when he gets per-cap money. Levi says that according to Dana, the casino will eventually go out of business. This way, they won’t be poor again. Dana always says to chase what you want.
Levi is already going along with Mike’s plan, as he’s ostensibly taking Daunis to the meth lab to cook for the group. Daunis’s relief at learning the meth cell isn’t just an “Indian thing” is palpable. This highlights her fears that her Ojibwe community will be blamed for the meth cell based on the fact that they’re Native, something that’s now less likely to happen. Levi’s explanation of why he and his mom got involved in the drug trade highlights how difficult life has been for Native communities. Dana is, in a sense, right: per cap has become less lucrative since the early-mid aughts. But as Daunis sees it, the fear of financial instability doesn’t justify being willing to hurt and even kill people.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis asks if that’s how Dana got Dad and asks why Levi lied about the scarf. Suddenly scared, Levi says that Dana told him Mom gave the scarf to Dad to remind Dana that Dad belonged with her. Levi didn’t want Daunis to wear it and anger Dana, who wanted Dad so bad that she had a friend get Dad drunk and hoped she’d get pregnant from the ensuing sex. Focusing, Daunis says that she’s not mad at Dana because she got a brother, whom she loves. Levi suggests that he and Daunis could buy the others out and run the meth operation themselves; they’d be “unstoppable.” Daunis feels her heart break as they board the ferry.
Hearing Levi’s interpretation of what the scarf means is a turning point for Daunis. She’s associated it with good memories of Dad, but Levi makes it clear that for pretty much everyone else, the scarf’s symbolism is way more complex. It’s painful for Dana and probably Mom, and it’s anxiety-inducing for Levi. But Daunis’s attempt to understand and affirm her love for Levi backfires when he asks her to buy out the operation with him—he’s still unconcerned about hurting others.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Daunis asks if they’d be unstoppable because Levi gets away with everything—she knows Travis took the blame for the BB gun incident. Suddenly stoic, Levi calls someone and tells them to meet him at the ferry launch. He makes Daunis put on a baseball cap, and Daunis thinks about what Uncle David would tell her to do. She notices Seeney Nimkee in the car next to them, and Daunis gives Seeney a pleading look. When the ferry reaches the other side, the car in front of Daunis and Levi—Minnie’s Mustang—doesn’t move. Seeney mouths to Daunis to go.
It’s telling that Levi turns on Daunis as soon as she calls him out for the BB gun incident. He shows her he’s totally unwilling to take responsibility for his actions. On the ferry, Daunis finds that her Elders are, somehow, aware of what’s going on and are willing to help her. It’s especially significant that Seeney is willing to help, since Daunis believes Seeney doesn’t like her much. Daunis’s support network is bigger than she realized.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
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