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.

Anishinaabe/Nish/Anishinaabemowin Term Analysis

Anishinaabe translates to “Original People” (that is, Indigenous Americans in general), but Daunis explains that she and her peers usually use it to refer to the tribes that lived around the Great Lakes, such as the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi. Anishinaabemowin refers to the language the Ojibwe tribe speaks.

Anishinaabe/Nish/Anishinaabemowin Quotes in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The Firekeeper’s Daughter quotes below are all either spoken by Anishinaabe/Nish/Anishinaabemowin or refer to Anishinaabe/Nish/Anishinaabemowin. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 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 18 Quotes

“The FBI had been investigating meth activity. The incident in Minnesota was unusual enough for the FBI to look into the different substances being added during production.”

“Do you know how the kids are doing now?” I hope their community has good resources to help them.

When Jamie admits he doesn’t know, it reinforces how different we are. The FBI is interested in learning what caused the group hallucination. I want to know if the kids are okay.

Related Characters: Jamie Johnson (speaker), Daunis Fontaine (speaker)
Page Number: 157-158
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:
Get the entire Firekeeper’s Daughter LitChart as a printable PDF.
Firekeeper’s Daughter PDF

Anishinaabe/Nish/Anishinaabemowin Term Timeline in Firekeeper’s Daughter

The timeline below shows where the term Anishinaabe/Nish/Anishinaabemowin 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
...Lake State campus. She pauses to admire Sugar Island, her favorite place, and recites the Anishinaabemowin name for it, like her dad taught her. (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Suddenly, a bird flies into the window. Gramma Pearl, Daunis’s Anishinaabe nokomis, would say this is a bad sign; GrandMary would say it’s just chance. Daunis... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...they’ve bonded over the fact that neither of their skin tones are on the “Acceptable Anishinaabe Skin Tone Continuum”—Daunis is pale, while Lily is reddish-brown. As Daunis folds her six-foot frame... (full context)
Chapter 4
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
...of the Seven Grandfathers (love, humility, respect, honesty, bravery, wisdom, and truth) that guide the Anishinaabe way of life. (full context)
Chapter 6
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
...horn surprises Jamie, Daunis tells him about the series of government-owned locks. The development destroyed Anishinaabeg villages, but Daunis says that’s a story for another day. (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...share anything about himself, so he and Daunis resume discussing local customs. Daunis explains that Anishinaabe means “Original People,” but it usually refers to the Great Lakes tribes. They speak Anishinaabemowin,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 13
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...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 the residential schools taking children—but not... (full context)
Chapter 26
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis has wanted this for a long time. Being Anishinaabe and being enrolled aren’t the same thing—but being enrolled won’t change Daunis’s identity. She says... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
...Grant waving her over and sits next to Ron instead. Bus passengers are mostly Zhaaganaash; Nishnaabs are following in campers. Ron learns why when the sound system blasts “Don’t Stop Believin’”... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...a classmate of Daunis’s, Ryan, enrolling in the Tribe. Ryan is notorious for riling up Nishnaabs, but apparently his dad is Joey Nodin. One man in the conversation, a lawyer, crows... (full context)
Chapter 30
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
...offers coffee. The house is clean, and Stormy’s school photos and a poster from the Anishinaabemowin conference last year are on the walls. The poster image is a photo of teepees... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...cigarette, and then tells her about how GrandMary and her friends all tried to swindle Nish artisans, including his grandpa. Daunis doesn’t know what to say—GrandMary has never liked Native people,... (full context)
Chapter 32
Justice Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Daunis barely listens to the Elders debate how to know if someone is fluent in Anishinaabemowin, and Leonard walks in just as they finish. When Daunis heads for Leonard, Auntie appears... (full context)
Chapter 40
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...their dates open the dance floor. As Daunis sways with Jamie, she thanks him in Anishinaabemowin and calls him Ojiishiingwe, or “He has a scar on his face.” He asks if... (full context)
Chapter 57
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...At the clearing, they join over 100 women. Auntie tells a story about a young Nish girl who’d gather pansies with her nokomis every summer. The girl’s nokomis would set aside... (full context)
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...at the ceremony. She offers semaa to the river and prays thankfully for all the Nish women and girls who didn’t have to come. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...who has said nothing in English since his arrest. (Stormy’s parents speak to him in Anishinaabemowin when they visit daily, and they drum outside the prison each night.) Mike is still... (full context)
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...the government used to take kids, 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... (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
...on one per day for a year as Auntie taught her about being a strong Nish kwe. She puts on a leather belt from Gramma Pearl, a beaded bag from Auntie,... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
...she danced. The Jingle Dance, the emcee explains, represents healing, and the red dresses represent Anishinaabe women—specifically those who are murdered or missing. Seven girls and women, ranging from ages five... (full context)