Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Granny June Character Analysis

Granny June is Lily’s grandmother; she’s a tiny old lady and has been Lily’s legal guardian since Lily was in sixth grade. Daunis and Lily love and admire Granny for her wit, sage advice, and occasional references to having committed felony crimes in her younger years. After Travis shoots Lily, Daunis continues to care for Granny June and drive her to the Elder Center on Sugar Island for lunch every day. To thank her for her care, for paying for Lily’s funeral, and for being such a good friend to Lily, Granny June gifts Daunis Lily’s Jeep. Later, Granny June submits an affidavit supporting Daunis’s application for tribal enrollment. At the end of the novel, Granny June also takes Daunis to the pansy ceremony for Nish women who’ve experienced sexual violence—and she reveals that she’d been bringing Lily every year since Lily came to live with her.

Granny June Quotes in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The Firekeeper’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Granny June or refer to Granny June. 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:

Each tribe has the sovereign right to determine who is a member. My best friend couldn’t get enrolled because of the way the Sugar Island Ojibwe Tribe’s enrollment office calculated Indian blood quantum: fractions of Indian blood based on lineage. Granny June’s first husband was from a First Nations band in Canada, so Lily’s pedigree didn’t meet the standard. Too many ancestors from across the river, not the right kind of Indian blood. Granny filed an appeal with Tribal Council, telling them, No one told me I wasn’t supposed to snag on that side of the river. We were here before that border existed. Every one of yous got cousins over there. But Council rejected her appeal for Lily’s membership application.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Granny June (speaker), Lily, Grant Edwards
Page Number: 243
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:
Get the entire Firekeeper’s Daughter LitChart as a printable PDF.
Firekeeper’s Daughter PDF

Granny June Character Timeline in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Granny June appears in Firekeeper’s Daughter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Several hours later, Daunis’s best friend Lily pulls up in her Jeep, with tiny Granny June riding shotgun. Daunis and Lily have been friends since sixth grade, and they’ve bonded over... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
On the drive, Daunis shares that she told Mom and GrandMary about her college decision. Granny June is incensed and says that “some boats are for the river and some are for... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...election, Lily gripes that Daunis’s Auntie Teddie should’ve run for office. After the girls help Granny June out at the senior center, Granny June says that she and Teddie have felonies and... (full context)
Chapter 8
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
After the Grand Entry, Lily and Granny June meet up with Daunis and Jamie; they’d like to sit together to watch Pauline and... (full context)
Chapter 10
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...has texts from Mom, Levi, and one from Lily. She says she needs to call Granny June , but Jamie tells Daunis not to—she shouldn’t talk to anyone right now. (full context)
Chapter 11
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...offer of a bath, and says she needs to go sit with Lily’s body and Granny June at the funeral home. (full context)
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
At the funeral home, Daunis hugs Granny June and studies Lily’s body in the casket. Nothing feels real. She looks around for Auntie,... (full context)
Chapter 13
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...the door on him. The following day, Daunis is still angry. She sits next to Granny June for the funeral. It’s Lily’s fourth day; today, Lily will say goodbye and then cross... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...powerful on Sugar Island. Auntie leads a Catholic prayer in Anishinaabemowin, and Daunis wonders why Granny June always talked about the residential schools taking children—but not her children. Throughout the service, Daunis... (full context)
Chapter 15
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Granny June calls the next morning and asks Daunis to take her to lunch at the Elder... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...a happy life now, it’s better to stay quiet. After lunch, Daunis hangs out as Granny June and Minnie play cards. Jonsy asks if anyone wants to go bottle collecting with him,... (full context)
Chapter 16
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis drops the Jeep and Granny June at Granny June’s house and then holds out the keys. But Granny June says she... (full context)
Chapter 19
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...they taunt her about having sex with Jamie, and then Levi gently asks Daunis about Granny June gifting Daunis Lily’s Jeep. Daunis relaxes, suddenly realizing how tense she’s been. Then, Levi says... (full context)
Chapter 23
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Daunis thinks of Uncle David and Heather all week. Granny June thinks Daunis has afternoon classes, but really, Daunis spends every afternoon foraging for mushrooms. On... (full context)
Chapter 25
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...that she can skip class and deceive people, as long as she takes care of Granny June and the Elders. Taking Granny June to lunch eats into prime daylight, but it’s worth... (full context)
Chapter 26
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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 ahead when... (full context)
Chapter 32
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...in the community is pitching in. Saturday is Shagala. Skipping the funeral lunch, Daunis drives Granny June to the Elder Center and picks up semaa for Leonard Manitou on the way. Leonard... (full context)
Chapter 34
Family and Community Theme Icon
...takeout tonight, and Mom agrees. The next day, Thursday, Daunis drags out her errands with Granny June and picking up her dress until finally, she drives to GrandMary’s house to read Uncle... (full context)
Chapter 56
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...also remembers Travis telling Lily that he needed her and couldn’t do it without her. Granny June ’s warning that “Things end how they start” also plays through her head. Daunis and... (full context)
Chapter 57
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
That Friday, Daunis picks up Granny June and drives to Auntie and Art’s house. At the clearing, they join over 100 women.... (full context)
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...thinks of what Grant did to her and prays. When she sits back next to Granny June , Granny June says that Lily was always thankful that Daunis never attended this ceremony—Lily... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...sees Mom smile. Mom knows now that letting Daunis go isn’t losing her. Daunis remembers Granny June telling her about boats made for oceans and rivers, and those that can go anywhere... (full context)