Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 55 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Three days after she almost dies, Daunis wakes up foggy and can tell instantly that something is wrong. Mom says that GrandMary died this morning, but Daunis says she died after a party. Mom continues that Daunis can’t go to the funeral because she’s at the University of Michigan ICU; Auntie is home making the arrangements for GrandMary. She suggests that GrandMary has been “in between” since Daunis graduated, and maybe she waited until Daunis was away to actually die. Daunis says that’s weird, not comforting.
Keep in mind that Daunis is somewhat delirious in this passage. But still, it’s telling that she insists GrandMary has been dead for a while—it supports Mom’s suggestion that GrandMary may have been waiting for the right time to die. If Mom is right (and there’s no way to know if she is or not), this would highlight how much GrandMary loves Daunis and has wanted to be around for her.
Themes
Family and Community Theme Icon
Several days later, Daunis describes her race off the ferry and crashing Coach Bobby’s car in great detail. She continues that the crash tore her liver, and she eventually went into shock due to blood loss. Now, she says that after three days unconscious and three more in the ICU, she’s here answering Dr. Roulain’s questions. The doctor says that Daunis is clearly just fine mentally, but she’ll need to stay in the hospital for a week. Fortunately, the liver is the only internal organ that can regenerate, but Daunis will need to not play hockey for six months to a year for her safety. Daunis says she gave up hockey due to nerve damage.
Now, readers learn exactly what happened to Daunis: she tore her liver badly and lost a lot of blood. That Daunis describes her injuries in such detail reminds readers that she dreams of being a doctor, a dream that seems to have become more important to Daunis in the last several days. As Daunis tells the doctor that she gave up hockey, it suggests that Daunis is ready to move on and start the next chapter of her life.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Once Dr. Roulain is gone, Daunis prepares herself and then, remembering that Mom said Daunis doesn’t need to protect her feelings, begins telling Mom her secrets. She says that Uncle David was helping the FBI research hallucinogenic mushrooms that might’ve been added to meth. He’d gone to see Dana about Levi when he went missing. Mom says that David will be happy knowing that she, Daunis, and his students know the truth—his death was the result of foul play.
It’s cathartic for both Mom and Daunis to know that Uncle David died trying to save others. This makes it clear to them both that David was a noble, community-focused person who gave his life to protect kids in the community. Daunis carried on his legacy by cooperating with the investigation and finally bringing David’s killers to justice.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Auntie visits with medicine: sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and tobacco. Daunis knows now that Auntie has been a great friend to Mom for Daunis’s entire life. Auntie followed GrandMary’s wishes regarding her funeral plans. Daunis also knows now that she and GrandMary love each other—when loved ones die, the love stays alive.
Daunis needs the medicines the hospital offers, but she also needs the traditional medicines Auntie brings. These connect her to who she is and remind her of all the people who love her, such as Auntie herself and GrandMary. Now, Daunis seems to have also come to terms with GrandMary’s legacy: she was bigoted, but she also loved Daunis, and Daunis decides the love is what matters most.
Themes
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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Ron visits soon after Daunis moves to the regular hospital ward. Mom scolds him for putting Daunis in danger, and Auntie asks who his tribe is and if his family knows what he does. Ron says he’s an agent because they need “good people” in these agencies to help the tribes. Auntie just scoffs. He says nobody in local Tribal law enforcement was involved; involving Tribal officers hasn’t gone well in the past, as officers have alerted family members.
As Auntie sees it, Ron’s Native identity doesn’t change the fact that he works for the FBI, an agency that has historically not done anything good for tribal communities. This pessimistically suggests that relations between federal agencies and tribal communities aren’t going to change any time soon—suspicion and fear will persist.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Quotes
Then, Ron tells Daunis what he can: Levi has been charged with several crimes, and Daunis will have to go to court, too, since Levi used her name for the wire transfers. They found Heather’s flip-flop in Levi’s closet. Daunis says it wasn’t there when she searched his closet; she’s sure Mike put it there. She tells Ron to watch Levi’s face when they question him about the flip-flop; he’ll know he’s been set up, though he might not turn on Mike. Ron continues that Mike is missing. He’s probably in Canada, and his parents are devastated. Daunis asks about Stormy, and Ron says that Stormy has stayed silent since they took him into custody. If he never talks, which seems likely, Stormy will be held in contempt of court and stay in jail. Daunis realizes that Levi and Stormy are going to sit in jail while Mike goes free.
At first, Daunis is hopeful that everything will be okay now that the FBI has caught Levi and Stormy and will seemingly soon catch Mike. However, it then becomes clear to her that Mike will mostly likely get off without suffering any consequences, if only because Stormy will refuse to implicate his friend. This reminds Daunis that justice isn’t always straightforward or easy. It’s clear to her what should happen, but the justice system isn’t set up to, say, let Stormy go and Levi off with minimal charges just because Daunis knows what happened.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Ron apologizes. He says that Coach Bobby has been charged, too. Daunis realizes she missed the signs, like his fancy car and his cabin’s renovation. She still doesn’t know how he could be so kind to her for years and then betray her, though Levi’s betrayal continues to hurt the most. Ron continues that Dana has been charged by the feds, and the Tribe will likely prosecute her for various crimes. When Daunis asks about Dana drugging and kidnapping her, Ron says that the trailer was on land that the Tribe purchased and put in federal trust. Auntie gasps: she says this means that since Daunis was an enrolled citizen, the feds get to choose whether to press charges. Clearly, they’re only going to press charges for Jamie’s kidnapping.
In this passage, Daunis learns even more about how complicated justice is—especially when she, an enrolled Tribal member, is the victim. Because of how the tribal and federal laws interact, Daunis is essentially not as important to the feds as Jamie. And Auntie implies that it's the feds’ choice, not Daunis’s, whether to press charges for her kidnapping. So, though Daunis wants to make sure that everyone responsible for hurting her sees justice, she’s unable to do so because of who and what she is.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Enraged, Daunis asks if Jamie shared that Grant raped her at Shagala. She says that Jamie is naïve—he expected the feds would help her more than they normally help Native women. She also says she suspects that Grant planned to rape her the moment he learned about her enrollment in the Tribe, since he knew he could get away with raping her on tribal land. Daunis is exhausted. She asks Ron to go and then leans against Auntie and Mom. After a minute, she tells Auntie that there will be a blanket party, and she’s coming. Looking old, Auntie agrees.
Again because of Daunis’s enrollment in the Tribe, the feds aren’t going to press charges for Grant raping her, either. So instead of formal, legal avenues to get justice, Daunis has to turn to a blanket party. With this, she realizes that a blanket party isn’t something to want to attend. It’s an imperfect solution to a huge problem: the fact that the federal government usually fails to seek justice for its Native female citizens. 
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Quotes