Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Uncle David Character Analysis

Uncle David is Mom’s brother and, until his death in April, was the science teacher at Sault High. Daunis adored her uncle—he encouraged her curiosity and trained her to critically think through problems and gather evidence. He often found himself at odds with his mom, GrandMary, as he was gay, and she believed he’d eventually grow out of it. Though Uncle David died of a meth overdose, Daunis learns he wasn’t addicted: he was a confidential informant for the FBI and his death was likely the result of foul play. As Daunis takes over his role in the investigation and continues his research into the hallucinogenic mushrooms the FBI thinks were added to meth-X, she thinks often of his advice and what he’d think of things. Ultimately, by finding the notebook David kept during the last few months of his life (which details his mushroom research), Daunis discovers that David didn’t want the FBI to know that the mushrooms weren’t what made meth-X so potent. It’s not until Daunis is kidnapped herself that she realizes Dana Firekeeper kidnapped Uncle David, and that Mike gave David meth to “incentivize” him to cook meth for the meth cell. Mike believes, but can’t say for sure, that David injected too much meth on purpose, taking his own life rather than cooperating with the cell.

Uncle David Quotes in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The Firekeeper’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Uncle David or refer to Uncle David. 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 14 Quotes

Maybe it isn’t about helping the FBI, but about protecting my community. Can I do one without the other? If I don’t sign on, they will find someone else to be their confidential informant.

Jamie is right—I know science and Ojibwe culture. I also know that I am strong enough to do this. There is one more thing I know…My definition of being a good Secret Squirrel is not the same as theirs.

Maybe there isn’t one investigation taking place, but two.

Theirs. And mine.

I sign the agreement.

Related Characters: Daunis Fontaine (speaker), Jamie Johnson, Ron Johnson, Uncle David
Page Number: 131
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 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:
Get the entire Firekeeper’s Daughter LitChart as a printable PDF.
Firekeeper’s Daughter PDF

Uncle David Character Timeline in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the character Uncle David appears in Firekeeper’s Daughter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...in the room, including the last one taken of the four Fontaines: Mom, GrandMary, Uncle David, and Daunis. It was taken at Daunis’s last hockey game. Soon after, in April, Uncle... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...doctor and has been happy to play along, but it doesn’t seem right anymore after David’s death and GrandMary’s stroke. GrandMary seems to understand, and Mom embraces Daunis—Daunis staying home is... (full context)
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...Mom is convinced that GrandMary will recover, and a week ago, Daunis overheard Mom telling David that she’ll fade away when Daunis goes to college. Daunis knows she’s all Mom has... (full context)
Chapter 3
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...uncle Ron’s science class. Daunis’s nose tingles; she explains that Ron is taking her Uncle David’s job and that David is dead. Privately, Daunis is angry at David for how he... (full context)
Chapter 4
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...his scar is too straight to be an accident. Daunis says Jamie’s uncle is taking David’s job, which is so unfair. Auntie reminds Daunis that fairness isn’t one of the Seven... (full context)
Chapter 5
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...wildly at the house’s features, but she stops briefly in front of her, Mom, and David’s framed senior portraits. Realizing the girl left the tour, Daunis tells Jamie to be better... (full context)
Chapter 8
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...asks why Daunis isn’t dancing, Daunis says she’s taking a yearlong break to grieve Uncle David. She doesn’t mind Jamie asking questions like this—and she silently reminds herself to not be... (full context)
Chapter 10
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...says there was nothing he could do for Lily. On her knees, Daunis remembers Uncle David telling her to piece together what she knows. In this case, she knows Lily is... (full context)
Chapter 12
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
...and introduces Jamie, and after some more chit-chat, he leads Daunis and Jamie to Uncle David’s old classroom. Once Daunis is seated at the desk, Ron says that he and Jamie... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis asks why they’re in Uncle David’s classroom, but she remembers how David didn’t show up for Easter dinner. GrandMary figured he’d... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
...Ron says they’re trying to identify distributors so they can work back to the manufacturers. David, Ron says, was worried about Travis—and Daunis was a person of interest too. Jamie explains... (full context)
Chapter 13
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...help she can get so she can learn the truth about Travis, Lily, and Uncle David. (full context)
Chapter 14
Justice Theme Icon
...by her birthday on October 1. It might help. Daunis refuses and asks what Uncle David found out about the investigation. Ron says that David was collecting mushrooms on Duck Island,... (full context)
Chapter 20
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...love and care for people you don’t like, and to believe in people like Uncle David? Daunis kisses Mom, tells GrandMary that today’s her first day at Lake State, and heads... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...as a kid, and that mushrooms grow on Duck Island, near Sugar Island. Ron said David had been looking there. (full context)
Chapter 21
Family and Community Theme Icon
...begins collecting fungi in each square. Daunis hopes to find something that isn’t in Uncle David’s mushroom books or in an online database. She can almost hear David telling her what... (full context)
Chapter 22
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...Daunis hugs Mom and tries not to roll her eyes as Mom sobs that Uncle David can’t walk Daunis down the aisle. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
...bring herself to finish Hocus Pocus on her own. She’s fidgety and keeps hearing Uncle David in her head, telling her to “Work the problem” and think like a scientist. He... (full context)
Chapter 23
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Mom and GrandMary packed Uncle David’s things away in GrandMary’s basement after he died, so Daunis leaves Mom a note and... (full context)
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... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...she realizes she’s helping the investigation for Levi and the Supes, in addition to Uncle David, Lily, the Tribe, the Sault, and the kids in Minnesota. Daunis’s good mood evaporates after... (full context)
Chapter 25
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...and maybe even go play hockey at Michigan. Daunis says that everything changed when Uncle David started helping the FBI, and she can’t play hockey. She refuses to say why—he doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 26
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...individual events. This almost makes Daunis cry because Ron reminds her so much of Uncle David. She fears that eventually, she’ll stop thinking about David and Lily every day. She knows... (full context)
Chapter 29
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...when Ron shushes her, Daunis says they need a secret language like Mom and Uncle David had. Suddenly, Daunis is certain that David did keep a journal of his time working... (full context)
Chapter 30
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...going to the kitchen, following the smell of Mom’s warm cookies. Daunis asks if Uncle David kept his journals anywhere but his home office. She’s just curious because she wonders what... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Mom and Daunis discuss that Uncle David spent most of his last weeks at school, but Daunis recalls that he organized element... (full context)
Chapter 31
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...per-cap payments. She’s ashamed for thinking the worst of him, just like she did with David. Still, something feels off, and she struggles to fall asleep. (full context)
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...she sees him. Daunis becomes aware of Mom mopping outside her bedroom and talking to David in their secret language made up of French, Italian, and an invented language. Mom is... (full context)
Chapter 33
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...agrees. Daunis has never been excited to go to Shagala before. She wishes Lily, Uncle David, and Dad were here—and suddenly, she remembers that Uncle David’s school desk has a secret... (full context)
Chapter 34
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Fortunately, Ron’s car isn’t at Sault High. Daunis suspects Uncle David left a notebook for her in his hidden drawer. She tells Mrs. H that Mom... (full context)
Family and Community Theme Icon
...and picking up her dress until finally, she drives to GrandMary’s house to read Uncle David’s journal. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
The journal begins in September of 2003, and it’s mostly in English. Uncle David jots down questions students ask. Most students are identified by initials or a symbol; Daunis... (full context)
Chapter 35
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis continues reading Uncle David’s journal. Once he began working with the FBI, he started researching mushrooms and foraging on... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
...saying that she’s finished canvassing Duck Island, but if the FBI began working with Uncle David in January and the kids in Minnesota got sick in February, they won’t find the... (full context)
Chapter 36
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...at Auntie’s, Daunis drives home. While she waits for the ferry, she reads through Uncle David’s mushroom research and tears out those five pages. It’ll look like David didn’t finish his... (full context)
Chapter 37
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...meth. Daunis knows she must protect the knowledge of the love medicine. She drops Uncle David’s notebook in Ron and Jamie’s mail slot, feeling good that they’ll only learn what they... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...Midway through their run, Jamie says that Ron is going to Marquette to enter Uncle David’s notebook as evidence. They discuss Daunis’s birthday plans and Daunis asks what Jamie meant when... (full context)
Chapter 41
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...Jamie read up on her before he started on the investigation, and he knew Uncle David’s death was suspicious. He knew he had things in common with Daunis, and she’d like... (full context)
Chapter 42
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...want to let her suspicions poison her relationship with Levi like she did with Uncle David. But when Daunis opens the statement, she sees that Levi deposited $20,000 into the account... (full context)
Chapter 43
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...with Dad’s scarf around her shoulders and inventories what she knows. She realizes that Uncle David intended the FBI to continue on a wild goose chase after discovering the meth wasn’t... (full context)
Chapter 46
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...to rent to college kids, but Levi says that he used to sit outside Uncle David’s classroom while David and Daunis talked about chemicals. He realized just how brilliant Daunis is.... (full context)
Chapter 47
Justice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...go free. Daunis doesn’t know many more things, including whether Levi was involved in Uncle David’s death and how to stop loving her brother. (full context)
Chapter 49
Justice Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...says that this is all so wrong. She asks if Levi was involved in Uncle David’s death, but Levi explains that Mike figured David would be more willing to make good... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...launch. He makes Daunis put on a baseball cap, and Daunis thinks about what Uncle David would tell her to do. She notices Seeney Nimkee in the car next to them,... (full context)
Chapter 51
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...TJ who’s involved in the meth ring and that they were likely involved in Uncle David, Heather, and Robin’s deaths. Then, she says she has to go back for Jamie. To... (full context)
Chapter 55
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 56
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Jamie begins to cry. He apologizes for involving Daunis and for Lily and Uncle David’s deaths. Daunis doesn’t comfort him; he needs to know that investigations have consequences and hurt... (full context)
Chapter 57
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...her mourning period for Lily ends, and she’ll dance for the first time since Uncle David died. Daunis asks to braid Pauline’s and Perry’s hair for the Grand Entry so she... (full context)