Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Firekeeper’s Daughter can help.
Daunis’s dad, Levi Firekeeper, Sr., died when Daunis and Levi were seven. He was an Ojibwe hockey player bound for fame and glory when he got 16-year-old Mom pregnant and, a few months later, impregnated Dana, Levi’s mom, while drunk at a party. He broke both of his legs in a car accident that night, something that haunts Mom to the present day: though she was driving, Dad took the blame and said he was. This injury ended his hockey career, and Grandpa Lorenzo and GrandMary used their political clout to keep him from getting a job in Sault Ste. Marie. Daunis has fond memories of her father and wants nothing more than to have a scarf she remembers him using to pull her and Levi around on the ice. However, Daunis also refers to Dad as “the king of Guy Lies,” as he’s the first man who ever lied to her: he said he was going away for a while and that he and Daunis would have a great life when he returned. However, he died in a logging accident and so never came back for her.

Dad Quotes in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The Firekeeper’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Dad or refer to Dad. 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 1  Quotes

My Zhaaganaash and Anishinaabe grandmothers could not have been more different. […] Their push and pull on me has been a tug-of-war my entire life.

When I was seven, I spent a weekend at Gramma Pearl’s tar-paper house on Sugar Island. I woke up crying with an earache […]. She had me pee in a cup, and poured it into my ear as I rested my head in her lap. Back home for Sunday dinner at GrandMary and Grandpa Lorenzo’s, I excitedly shared how smart my grandmother was. Gramma Pearl fixed my earache with my pee! GrandMary recoiled and, a heartbeat later, glared at my mother as if this was her fault. Something split inside me when I saw my mother’s embarrassment. I learned there were times when I was expected to be a Fontaine and other times when it was safe to be a Firekeeper.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Gramma Pearl, GrandMary, Mom, Grandpa Lorenzo, Dad
Page Number: 10-11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

Pausing in the doorway, I watch Mom massaging lotion on her mother’s toothpick legs. She exhausts herself looking after GrandMary, who wasn’t always kind to her.

What if it’s a strength to love and care for someone you don’t always like?

Mom was adamant that Uncle David hadn’t relapsed. I know now that he didn’t, but even if he had, she would have continued to love and support him.

What if my mother is actually a strong person disguised as someone fragile?

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Mom, GrandMary, Uncle David, Dad
Page Number: 180
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 43 Quotes

My heart skips a beat.

I tip the basket upside down. Staring at the floor where Dad’s scarf lands.

Green, like my mother’s eyes.

Levi kept it from me. He had it all along.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Levi Firekeeper, Dad, Judge Dana Firekeeper
Related Symbols: Dad’s Scarf
Page Number: 391
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Firekeeper’s Daughter LitChart as a printable PDF.
Firekeeper’s Daughter PDF

Dad Character Timeline in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Dad appears in Firekeeper’s Daughter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...admire Sugar Island, her favorite place, and recites the Anishinaabemowin name for it, like her dad taught her. (full context)
Chapter 2 
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...have the opportunity to escape the gossip that has haunted her her whole life—that her dad, Levi Firekeeper, an “Indian […] with potential,” got Mom (who’s from the richest white family... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...the Sugar Island Ojibwe Tribe, as Lily doesn’t meet the minimum blood-quantum requirement and Daunis’s dad isn’t on her birth certificate. They gripe about not wanting the cookies anyway, but they... (full context)
Chapter 3
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...himself as Jamie Johnson, and then pulls her cousins around the rink with her scarf. Dad used to do this with Daunis and Levi; his scarf was jade green. Daunis doubles... (full context)
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...falls and gets back up again, but Pauline pleads with Daunis to help her. Remembering Dad’s advice, Daunis tells Pauline to get up herself and scolds Jamie when he helps Pauline... (full context)
Chapter 6
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
...if Stormy, another hockey player, was in on it too, but Daunis explains that Stormy’s dad wouldn’t let Stormy help. She says there will be sweetgrass at the powwow this weekend,... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis explains that she, however, gets no money because she’s not an enrolled tribal member—her dad isn’t on her birth certificate, thanks to her Fontaine grandparents. She and Jamie observe that... (full context)
Chapter 7
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect 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... (full context)
Chapter 14
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
...the way home, Daunis daydreams like she hasn’t in years. She used to daydream about Dad being at Levi’s hockey games, but now, she dreams about shopping for books and school... (full context)
Chapter 21
Family and Community Theme Icon
...there. When Daunis steps out of the Jeep, she’s suddenly flooded with a memory of Dad carrying her to his favorite fishing spot. Pushing the memory away, she thinks of Jonsy... (full context)
Chapter 23
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...the second period, Daunis studies Jamie’s skating: he was clearly a figure skater. Levi, like Dad, skates like a commanding hockey player. Daunis almost bursts with pride watching him, and she... (full context)
Chapter 26
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...her. Daunis opens an envelope with two photos in it, one of her, Levi, and Dad skating, and another of Dad holding her as a baby. Next, Daunis pulls out an... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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 children and grandchildren—people must think seven generations... (full context)
Chapter 27
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...Daunis bristles when Levi says Stormy is “the baddest goon” from Sugar Island. She knows Dad was “the ultimate goon,” but Levi seems to forget about Dad sometimes. He remembers Dad... (full context)
Chapter 31
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Mom sobs about how she and Dad shouldn’t have gone to the island, and how he clearly got drunk because he wanted... (full context)
Chapter 33
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...discuss Shagala, the benefit game, and Daunis’s birthday, and Daunis says all she wants is Dad’s scarf. Levi promises to look for it. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...connected to her Firekeeper side and was even the one to share the news of Dad’s death, Daunis agrees. Daunis has never been excited to go to Shagala before. She wishes... (full context)
Chapter 37
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...greets her with a “happy birthday.” Daunis prays for love this morning and wonders what Dad thought the first time he held her. Midway through their run, Jamie says that Ron... (full context)
Chapter 39
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...when she knew she was risking nerve damage. Daunis answers truthfully: she feels close to Dad when she plays, and she couldn’t resist the opportunity to imagine Dad cheering for her.... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...about “Guy Lies,” and everyone, especially Jamie, has lied to her. She remembers fishing with Dad and shares the memory with Jamie: the last thing Dad ever said to her is... (full context)
Chapter 40
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Levi passes Daunis’s birthday gift to her across the table. It’s not Dad’s scarf: it’s Dad’s choker from his regalia. Levi hugs Daunis and whispers that there’s another... (full context)
Chapter 41
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...an honor song, she giggles at Jamie’s awed expression. Though Daunis can’t dance, she holds Dad’s choker up. Stormy, a wolf dancer, dances next to Daunis, and nearby Zhaaganaash men whoop... (full context)
Chapter 42
Justice Theme Icon
...privacy. When Daunis is ready for bed, she soothes herself by touching the beads on Dad’s choker and saying her Spirit name again and again. When she falls asleep, she’s back... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Daunis wakes in the morning, she notices the gift Levi left on her desk. Fingering Dad’s choker, Daunis thinks of everything that happened last night—and her dream about Travis and Lily.... (full context)
Chapter 43
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...even more. Daunis is so scared that she knocks over a lidded basket. Inside is Dad’s scarf. Levi has been lying to her. Daunis pockets the scarf and can hear Dana... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...fight and then shows Mom the photo. Mom smiles; she’s clearly still in love with Dad. Then, she asks what else Levi left. He had two boxes. Daunis shrugs and Mom... (full context)
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis sits with Dad’s scarf around her shoulders and inventories what she knows. She realizes that Uncle David intended... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
...what Levi will do next, her BlackBerry buzzes and someone knocks on the door. Hiding Dad’s scarf and the puck, Daunis reads a text from Ron asking if she’s seen Jamie... (full context)
Chapter 48
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...to assure her that Jamie will be safe. She hisses at Levi that she found Dad’s scarf, so she knows he’s a liar. Mike tells Daunis to let him unlock her... (full context)
Chapter 49
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age 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... (full context)
Chapter 57
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...Coach Bobby’s car and being taken to cook meth. She burns sweetgrass, prays, and wears Dad’s choker when she has those dreams. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...beaded bag from Auntie, and a velvet yoke beaded with yellow pansies. Finally, she adds Dad’s choker, blueberry earrings from Mom, the strawberry bracelet from Jamie, and GrandMary’s red lipstick. Auntie... (full context)