Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Daunis wakes up on Saturday excited: the powwow is later, and she tells GrandMary about her and Lily’s plans to go to the campus bookstore to price textbooks. After the bookstore outing, Daunis brushes off Mom’s request that Daunis let her know if she and Lily make plans for after the powwow—Mom will be concerned if she learns about Jamie, so Daunis plans to say nothing. Later, Daunis hops into Jamie’s truck, fields raunchy texts from Lily, and answers Jamie’s questions about per cap. She says some people judge others for how they spend their money, but it does do good things, like allow kids to go to college or families to buy houses and cars. Per cap also helps more Nish kids play hockey and figure skate—when her dad was a player, the Firekeepers had to take up a collection for gear.
Daunis wants to keep Mom in the loop, but she’s still extremely concerned with protecting Mom’s emotions (hence not telling Mom about Jamie). The way that Daunis frames it, per cap is a really good thing. It has enabled some abuse, to be sure, but in general, it improves the standard of living for enrolled tribal members and gives kids in particular more opportunities (such as college and sports).
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
As Daunis ignores another raunchy text from Lily, Jamie asks what happened to Daunis’s dad. Daunis explains that Mom was 16 when she got pregnant, and Dad was “a poor Nish from the rez on Sugar Island.” Her parents got in a car accident the night Mom told Dad about her pregnancy, and Dad broke both his legs. They didn’t heal right, and because Grandpa Lorenzo was the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie and disliked Native Americans, Dad couldn’t get a job. He left for a job and died in a logging accident when Daunis and Levi were seven. Daunis refuses to elaborate further, despite Jamie’s confusion—he notes that Daunis herself is Native.
Daunis is being honest and open with Jamie as she shares her family history. But she’s not the sort of person to spill everything to someone who’s still pretty much a stranger. It’s unclear if, in this case, this is related to Daunis’s more private personality, or if it’s because she doesn’t want to get into the difficult gray area where her beloved grandparents are also sometimes bigoted and racist, including to her. Revealing that Dad is deceased also helps explain why Daunis clings so tightly to his advice: it’s how she can remember and honor him.
Themes
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Jamie parallel parks like an expert at the powwow grounds and notices Daunis casually flip off TJ in his police car. Daunis doesn’t share how TJ dumped her a month after they started having sex and then ignored her. Instead, she says she dislikes law enforcement and explains how anyone who’s visibly Nish gets searched at the Canada border—and how Art, who’s Nish and Black, had a gun pulled on him in front of Teddie, Perry, and Pauline. Now, Daunis goes to Canada for Teddie since she has light skin and a Canadian birth certificate.
Daunis, of course, can dislike TJ for all sorts of reasons. She can resent him for how he broke up with her while also disliking that he chose to become a law enforcement officer, making him complicit in some of the racist treatment that Nish folks suffer. In contrast, Daunis tries to make it clear that she uses her privilege for good, as by crossing the border for her family members.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Jamie apologizes and asks if Daunis ever wants to make a difference. Daunis says she wants to be a doctor and for now, she shops in Canada for her family for items they love. She observes that it must seem weird to cross a border for coffee and Sudafed, but it’s normal here. Jamie admits he’s never lived anywhere long enough to get used to a normal. Just then, three loud pops sound—and Jamie flattens Daunis to the ground.
All localities have their own quirks, which are normal to the locals. Daunis is helping Jamie begin to fit in by sharing what’s normal here, and it’s interesting that Jamie seemingly has no ties anywhere. This suggests that he's moved around a lot and perhaps doesn’t have many connections to friends, family, or a community—he’s on his own.
Themes
Family and Community Theme Icon
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