Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Auntie Teddie Character Analysis

Auntie is Daunis’s aunt on her Firekeeper side. She has, throughout Daunis’s life, kept Daunis connected to the Ojibwe community and traditions, and she has supported Mom emotionally. Though she used to be known for fighting and her substance use, in the present, Auntie is happily married to Art, has twin daughters Perry and Pauline, and is well-respected in the community as the director of the tribal health center. Daunis greatly admires Auntie and wants to be a strong Nish kwe like her, so it’s not always clear to Daunis why Auntie won’t, for instance, let Daunis participate in blanket parties. Really, Auntie wants to protect Daunis and would rather Daunis take advantages of the privileges Daunis has as a light-skinned person with financial means. Daunis and Auntie begin to grow apart over the novel, as Daunis begins keeping secrets from Auntie when she agrees to be the FBI’s confidential informant. This creates strife at first, though Auntie ultimately acknowledges that Daunis is an adult who can make her own choices. She continues to keep Daunis connected to Ojibwe traditions, including by helping Daunis enroll in the Tribe just before Daunis’s 19th birthday.

Auntie Teddie Quotes in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The Firekeeper’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Auntie Teddie or refer to Auntie Teddie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice Theme Icon
).
Chapter 11 Quotes

Auntie overheard us talking and sat us down. She talked about the boarding school that Granny June’s daughters had been scooped up and taken to. Years spent marching like soldiers and training to be household domestics. They had the Anishinaabemowin and cultural teachings beaten out of them. When they came back to Sugar Island, one of the girls had scarred palms that looked like melted plastic, and she ran into the woods at the sound of a kettle whistle. Her sister was afraid of men and had to sleep with her back against the wall. Auntie had told us, When you criticize Maggie, just remember she was raised by one of those sisters, the one who didn’t kill herself.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Auntie Teddie (speaker), Maggie, Lily, Granny June
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

I have wanted this ever since I understood that being Anishinaabe and being an enrolled citizen weren’t necessarily the same thing.

My mind races, remembering Granny’s unsuccessful efforts to get this for Lily.

I can become a member. Except…It changes nothing about me.

I am Anishinaabe. Since my first breath. […]

My whole life, I’ve been seeking validation of my identity from others. Now that it’s within my reach, I realize I don’t need it.

“Miigwech.” I take a deep breath. “But I don’t need a card to define me.”

“I know you don’t, Daunis. But think about,” Auntie says. “This is a gift from your dad.”

[…]

Granny says, “Your decision isn’t just about you. It’s for your children. Grandchildren.”

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Auntie Teddie (speaker), Granny June (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

“Hold on. When you say ‘we,’ you don’t mean you and me. You mean the FBI,” I say, mouthing the initials while pretending to rub my nose so no one can read my lips. “Jamie, don’t you remember what my aunt told us about making some workers stay late to fix the owl T-shirts? They learned about the problem and had ownership in the solution? We have to fix it. The community, not the”—my hand hides my mouth from the room again—“FBI.”

Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

I am overcome with deep gratitude as I sit here next to Auntie before the fire. Auntie has shown me how to be a strong Nish kwe—full of love, anger, humor, sorrow, and joy. Not as something perfect: She is a woman who is complex and sometimes exhausted, but mostly brave. She loves imperfect people fiercely.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Auntie Teddie, Mom, GrandMary, Levi Firekeeper
Page Number: 328
Explanation and Analysis:

When Lily told Travis that she was done for good, he pulled out a gun. Love is not control. If he had truly loved Lily, he would have wanted her to have a good life. Even if it wasn’t with him. Instead, he did the opposite of love. Travis steadied the gun in his hand and thought only of himself.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Auntie Teddie, Lily, Travis Flint, Jamie Johnson
Page Number: 331
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 37 Quotes

Somehow, Travis had come across a love medicine. The kind of bad medicine that Auntie warned me against asking too much about.

When Lily refused to try the love medicine, Travis must have added it to a batch of meth […]. What he thought was a love medicine was actually the opposite of love. Real love honors your spirit. If you need a medicine to create or keep it, that’s possession and control. Not love.

A couple of weeks later, on a rez in Minnesota, a group of kids tried it […]. Every single one got sick. Not lovesick for some girl they’d never met, but infected with an insatiable desire for more meth.

I can do my part to protect our medicines, while trusting that there are those in the community who are doing their part to preserve and protect many different medicine teachings.

Page Number: 334-335
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 42 Quotes

What if I ask for something I shouldn’t? I could be a bird asking Creator for love, only to be so enamored of my new mate that I fly into a clean window and break my neck.

Everything has strings attached. Unintended consequences. The shove from behind that you never saw coming.

Flakes of semaa flutter from my trembling hand.

My prayer ends with a confession: I’m scared.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Auntie Teddie
Page Number: 382-383
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 43 Quotes

Nibwaakaawin. Auntie told me the translation, breaking down each part of the word so it made perfect sense: To be wise is to live with an abundance of sight.

My whole life I’ve wanted to be like my aunt. The way a person dreams about being a ballerina, but not of broken toes and years of practice. I wanted to be a strong and wise Nish kwe, never considering how that abundance of sight would be earned.

I wanted to find out who was involved in the meth madness that took Lily and Uncle David. Robin and Heather, too. And the kids in Minnesota who got so sick from meth-X.

The person I was searching for this whole time was Levi.

Wisdom is not bestowed. In its raw state, it is the heartbreak of knowing things you wish you didn’t.

Page Number: 392-393
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 52 Quotes

I thought I had no resources on the ferry, except for one lone Elder. But one led to another, and another. A resource I never anticipated during my time of dire need.

I’m reminded that our Elders are our greatest resource, embodying our culture and community. Their stories connect us to our language medicines, land, clans, songs, and traditions. They are a bridge between the Before and the Now, guiding those of us who will carry on in the Future.

We honor our heritage and our people, those who are alive and those who’ve passed on. That’s important because it keeps the ones we lose with us. My grandparents. Uncle David. Lily. Dad.

Page Number: 453
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 55 Quotes

“Does your family know what you do? Going undercover in tribal communities?”

“They know I work for the FBI,” Ron tells her. “My sister thinks it’s dangerous. My cousins think I’m a sellout. I do this work because we need good people working at the agencies that help tribes.”

Auntie snorts. “Scariest words ever spoken: ‘I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.’”

Related Characters: Auntie Teddie (speaker), Ron Johnson (speaker), Daunis Fontaine
Page Number: 468
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 57 Quotes

As my aunt tells the story, a large basket is passed around the inner circle. I take a yellow pansy and pass the basket to Auntie. I watch as women approach the fire, each one offering a pansy.

As I release the pansy, I think about what Grant Edwards did to me and say my silent prayer. There is comfort in watching the smoke rise to the full moon.

When I return to my seat, Granny June holds my hand.

“Liliban was thankful each year that you weren’t here,” she says.

“Wait. She was here?” My heart breaks.

“Yes, my girl. Ever since she came to live with me.”

I cry for my best friend and the secrets she wanted to protect me from.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Granny June (speaker), Lily, Auntie Teddie, Grant Edwards
Page Number: 481
Explanation and Analysis:

I am overcome with a mixture of emotions. Sad that their innocent eyes are open to the trauma that still impacts our community today. Angry they must learn these truths in order to be strong Anishinaabeg in a world where Indians are thought of only in the past tense. Proud that they—smart, sturdy, and loved—are the greatest wish our ancestors had, for our nation to survive and flourish.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Perry, Pauline, Auntie Teddie, Art
Page Number: 485
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Firekeeper’s Daughter LitChart as a printable PDF.
Firekeeper’s Daughter PDF

Auntie Teddie Character Timeline in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Auntie Teddie appears in Firekeeper’s Daughter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Passing a billboard for today’s Tribal Council election, Lily gripes that Daunis’s Auntie Teddie should’ve run for office. After the girls help Granny June out at the senior... (full context)
Chapter 3
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
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From the edge of the ring, Teddie motions for Daunis. Jamie and Lily follow. Teddie introduces herself to Jamie and asks what... (full context)
Chapter 4
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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,... (full context)
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Art, Auntie’s husband, enters the kitchen just as Daunis’s phone buzzes with a text from Jamie, asking... (full context)
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When Auntie and Art go to bed, Daunis thinks about Jamie. He’s a skilled player who made... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...for pancakes. Daunis rolls off the couch to make pancakes and is relieved to see Auntie’s car in the drive. The twins are finished and in front of the TV when... (full context)
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...her and avoiding catfights among the other girls. Plus, Daunis is a “total badass” like Teddie. Flattered, Daunis agrees to be Jamie’s ambassador. (full context)
Chapter 7
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...shirt to clean Daunis’s knee. Daunis asks if he’s lived in dangerous neighborhoods and remembers Auntie commenting that Jamie’s scar wasn’t an accident. Soon after, Jamie and Daunis find Pauline, Perry,... (full context)
Chapter 9
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For dinner, Daunis and Jamie join Art and Auntie at their RV. While Jamie hangs out with Art at the grill, Auntie braids Daunis’s... (full context)
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...“minor forty-niner” (the powwow party for minors) later. Daunis implies there will be beer, and Auntie says it’s okay to have fun if you’re smart—and throwing a party in town at... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...Daunis tells Jamie she knows he’s an officer and then runs from him, bound for Auntie’s house. But Jamie pursues Daunis and says she can’t involve Auntie. (full context)
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...she knows them, and Jamie doesn’t. But is that true? She didn’t tell him where Auntie lives, after all. He insists on taking Daunis home to Mom and promises to talk.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...helps her into bed, Daunis shivers. She remembers shaking during her coming-of-age fast, and how Auntie later told her that shivering is fine—you’re in trouble if you stop. Daunis wakes in... (full context)
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...June and studies Lily’s body in the casket. Nothing feels real. She looks around for Auntie, but Auntie must be at home with Art, tending the ceremonial fire. Art comes from... (full context)
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...casket if Daunis were dead. Lily always referred to herself as Maggie’s “practice baby,” but Auntie told Daunis and Lily to remember that Maggie was raised by the only sister in... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...fire will go out in this world and light in the next one. Mom and Auntie sit behind Daunis and Granny June. Mom has been hovering annoyingly since Lily’s death. (full context)
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...the council is at Travis’s funeral; his family is huge and powerful on Sugar Island. Auntie leads a Catholic prayer in Anishinaabemowin, and Daunis wonders why Granny June always talked about... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...it’s not right to experiment with traditional medicines for the FBI. Thinking of what Lily, Auntie, and Gramma Pearl would do, Daunis realizes she’s the only one who can help. She... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Daunis gets herself some food just as Auntie walks in. Daunis’s throat closes up. Auntie supposedly has felonies—would telling her about the investigation... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Daunis tells Mom she’s attending a geology seminar at Michigan Tech, and she tells Auntie she and Jamie are going for a romantic getaway. Auntie isn’t happy about this and... (full context)
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...room, Daunis showers and gets out to discover Jamie ordered pizza. She contacts Mom and Auntie to let them know she’s okay and refuses to talk to Jamie about their day. (full context)
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...on her Moon, she doesn’t offer semaa during her prayer—women are powerful when they’re menstruating. Auntie says they carry power and medicine within them during this time. Daunis feels better after... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...because of drugs. Heather storms away. Later that evening, Daunis refuses to tell a story (Auntie always says they should wait until there’s snow on the ground to tell stories), so... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Daunis bursts into Auntie’s house on the phone with a 911 operator; she only just got service. She shouts... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...at the Daddy-Daughter Dance—Uncle David took Daunis, while Heather went with her mom’s current boyfriend. Auntie always told Daunis that girls need a man in their lives to tell them they... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...Granny June to lunch eats into prime daylight, but it’s worth it. Still, Daunis avoids Auntie, as she’s afraid she can’t lie well enough to deceive her. Later today, Daunis has... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Anxiously worrying about what Auntie might know about the investigation, Daunis sits down. She burns with shame as Auntie says... (full context)
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...won’t change Daunis’s identity. She says she doesn’t need a card to define her, but Auntie says this is a gift from Dad. Granny June tells Daunis to think about her... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...during intermission, but she notices people crying as they get texts. Daunis checks her phone. Auntie texted: Robin died of a meth overdose. (full context)
Chapter 30
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Auntie and Daunis go to the hospital for blood draws; they go there instead of Tribal... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...and she wonders if Robin’s addiction started when they were both injured during a game. Auntie refused to fill Daunis’s prescription for oxycodone, but did Robin’s parents fill hers? Remembering Robin... (full context)
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...in Anishinaabemowin, and Leonard walks in just as they finish. When Daunis heads for Leonard, Auntie appears and intercepts her. Outside, Auntie quietly asks if Daunis is playing on Friday. Auntie... (full context)
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The Elders are quiet when Daunis returns to the dining room—they all know Auntie yelled and that Daunis likely deserved it. But something is changing between Daunis and Auntie,... (full context)
Chapter 33
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
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...wonders if Travis was hallucinating or if he really saw Little People. And how can Auntie think Daunis is being foolish? TJ is so out of line. Daunis offers semaa to... (full context)
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As Daunis pays, she gets a text from Auntie asking her to come tomorrow night at eight. Remembering how Auntie has kept Daunis connected... (full context)
Chapter 35
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...together and figure out what Jamie meant, not sit for a lecture. At the house, Auntie leads Daunis to the clearing, where Art is tending the fire for a sweat lodge.... (full context)
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Coming of Age Theme Icon
After, Daunis and Auntie sit by the fire eating hominy soup and blueberry galette. Daunis privately remembers her “berry... (full context)
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...Daunis notices a plate of food that Art left at the edge of the woods, Auntie says it’s an offering for the Little People, who came to check on them. Daunis... (full context)
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Daunis senses her relationship with Auntie changing—she’s moving ahead into womanhood, and Auntie is letting her. Auntie says she’s glad Daunis... (full context)
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Rather than sleep at Auntie’s, Daunis drives home. While she waits for the ferry, she reads through Uncle David’s mushroom... (full context)
Chapter 38
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...play hockey one last time, but seeing Robin’s locker is sobering, and it’s hard when Auntie texts that she can’t bring herself to come watch. Daunis and Macy exchange insults, but... (full context)
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Fortunately, Daunis notices Art, Auntie, Mom, Pauline, and Perry across the lobby—and Auntie is smiling. Warning Jamie to not mention... (full context)
Chapter 39
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...she hurts her shoulder. For readers, Daunis explains that the summer before her senior year, Auntie (who’s legally able to make medical decisions for Daunis) secretly took Daunis to Ann Arbor... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...cheer as the line of couples makes their way to the building. When they hear Auntie shouting, Jamie and Daunis break away from the line to go greet her. Daunis laughs... (full context)
Chapter 43
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...Once Daunis gets home, she locks herself in the bathroom and vomits. Remembering a word Auntie taught her, which translates to “To be wise is to live with an abundance of... (full context)
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...is pregnant. When Daunis says she’s on birth control, Mom says she’s glad Daunis has Auntie, but Daunis can also come to her for help. Daunis lets Mom in and leans... (full context)
Chapter 45
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...She flinches when Jamie tries to touch her and then says that soon, Mom and Auntie will contact Ron, and they’ll all discover that Daunis and Jamie are missing. Jamie says... (full context)
Chapter 52
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Hearing another scream, Daunis sees Auntie running for her. Auntie says she’s here because Seeney called and said Daunis was on... (full context)
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...but the sky and the fall leaves are so beautiful. It doesn’t make sense why Auntie and Jamie look scared, because nothing hurts now. The sky is purple, Mom’s favorite color.... (full context)
Chapter 55
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...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”... (full context)
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Auntie visits with medicine: sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and tobacco. Daunis knows now that Auntie has been... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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,... (full context)
Chapter 57
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That Friday, Daunis picks up Granny June and drives to Auntie and Art’s house. At the clearing, they join over 100 women. Auntie tells a story... (full context)
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...peruses the vendor stalls and refuses to tell anyone who asks about Levi anything. From Auntie, who she believes is in contact with Ron, Daunis knows that Levi is being held... (full context)
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...not give them back, and punish them for speaking Anishinaabemowin. Daunis is emotional. Art and Auntie clearly decided Pauline and Perry were ready for “the talk,” and she’s sad these bright... (full context)
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...with the 365 cones that Daunis sewed on one per day for a year as Auntie taught her about being a strong Nish kwe. She puts on a leather belt from... (full context)
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Daunis dances simply as she enters for the Grand Entry. She leads Pauline, Perry, and Auntie through the honor beats. Late in the afternoon, the emcee calls for Jingle dancers with... (full context)