Tracks

Eli Kashpaw is a young Native American man who believes in the old ways of life and seeks to woo and marry Fleur Pillager, who shares his values. He is less industrious than his brother Nector, but a better hunter who is more dedicated to family and his Native culture. He is masculine, but willing to defer to Fleur’s authority in most cases. He serves as father to Lulu despite her unknown parentage. He hunts to provide for his family, but he cheats on Fleur with Sophie Morrissey, possibly as a result of the love medicine used on him by Pauline Puyat. When Fleur loses her land, she turns down Eli’s offer to marry him and move to his mother Margaret’s land, but Eli pledges to work hard enough that they will buy back Fleur’s land. It is then ironic that the way he attempts to earn back this money is by working for the lumber company.

Eli Kashpaw Quotes in Tracks

The Tracks quotes below are all either spoken by Eli Kashpaw or refer to Eli Kashpaw. 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:
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of Tracks published in 2011.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The thing I’ve found about women is that you must use every instinct to confuse. “Look here,” I told Eli before he went out my door, “it’s like you’re a log in a stream. Along comes this bear. She jumps on. Don’t let her dig in her claws.” So keeping Fleur off balance was what I presumed Eli was doing.

Related Characters: Nanapush (speaker), Fleur Pillager, Eli Kashpaw
Related Symbols: Bears
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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It didn’t occur to me till later to wonder if it didn’t go both ways, though, if Fleur had wound her private hairs around the buttons of Eli’s shirt, if she had stirred smoky powders or crushed snakeroot into his tea. Perhaps she had bitten his nails in her sleep, swallowed the ends, snipped threads from his clothing and made a doll to wear between her legs.

Related Characters: Nanapush (speaker), Fleur Pillager, Eli Kashpaw
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

In the morning, before they washed in Matchimanito, they smelled like animals, wild and heady, and sometimes in the dusk their fingers left tracks like snails, glistening and wet. They made my head hurt. A heaviness spread between my legs and ached. The tips of my breasts chafed and wore themselves to points and a yawning eagerness gripped me.

Related Characters: Pauline Puyat (speaker), Fleur Pillager, Eli Kashpaw
Related Symbols: Matchimanito, Tracks/Trails
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

“It’s like this. You’ve got to start all over. The first time you pursued Fleur you had to make her think you were a knowledgeable, capable man, but now it is the opposite. She has to pity you as I do, only more. You have to cut yourself down in her eyes until you’re nothing, a dog, so low it won’t matter if she lets you crawl back.”

Related Characters: Nanapush (speaker), Eli Kashpaw
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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Eli Kashpaw Character Timeline in Tracks

The timeline below shows where the character Eli Kashpaw appears in Tracks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Fall 1913-Spring 2014, Onaubin-geezis, Crust on the Snow Sun
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
Nanapush then introduces Eli Kashpaw, who he describes as not the most industrious or educated of young men. Eli’s... (full context)
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The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
Eli tells Nanapush a story of hunting a doe in the woods, and injuring it, so... (full context)
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Eli refuses this idea and tells of how he joined Fleur in butchering the animal. He... (full context)
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Nanapush breaks down and tells Eli of his romantic history and what pleased his wives, but he does not mention his... (full context)
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Eli’s mother, Margaret, shows up to Nanapush’s cabin to inform him of the rumors she’s heard... (full context)
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Eventually Nanapush puts down the paper, and Margaret asks him where Eli learned all of the advanced lovemaking techniques her son was witnessed performing in the open... (full context)
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Fleur and Eli continue with their bold displays of affection until the whole reservation is talking. Boy Lazarre... (full context)
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In the ensuing weeks, while Eli sets traps out on Pillager land, Margaret lays a trap of her own in her... (full context)
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...to study all of the information, and is sure that Fleur’s child must not be Eli’s. She predicts the child will be born a demon of some sort, and that Eli... (full context)
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...day Nector arrives home with a crippled heron that he says is a gift for Eli’s wife. Margaret takes issue with the designation, but Eli says that what he has with... (full context)
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...not helping because of kinship, but only to see proof that the child is not Eli’s. Nanapush later tells Lulu that the appearance of the child provided no proof of her... (full context)
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Eli and Nanapush wait outside the cabin for over a day, and hear nothing from inside.... (full context)
Chapter 4: Winter 1914-Summer 1917, Meen-geezis, Blueberry Sun
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
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...his eyes in Lulu, but also sees the Kashpaw nose on her face (suggesting that Eli might be her father). Pauline tells how Margaret was unable to resist the lure of... (full context)
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Pauline can feel the electricity between Eli and Fleur, and it spurs a jealous lust in her as well. Pauline thinks of... (full context)
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...also continues to visit Fleur’s cabin, hoping to soak up some of the attraction between Eli and Fleur in lieu of experiencing such feelings herself. She feels that Fleur acts coldly... (full context)
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One night Pauline dreams of Eli, and awakes next to Sophie, noticing how beautiful she is. She comes up with a... (full context)
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...the subject to suggest that they hire another man to help on the farm, specifying Eli. When Pauline returns to the Pillager cabin, Fleur tells her Eli is in the woods.... (full context)
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Two days later, Eli shows up at the Morrisseys’ to work. Pauline has acquired a sack of medicine powder... (full context)
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...herself into Sophie’s body and controlling the girl’s actions. Sophie lifts her dress and straddles Eli, and he carries her to the water. Pauline follows, and Sophie and Eli have sex.... (full context)
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...Sophie confirms. Clarence loads his gun, arguing about wanting to go pay a visit to Eli, but eventually he goes to sleep, unsure of what has happened. (full context)
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Pauline worries she has gone too far and that Eli might know she had something to do with the seduction, but she knows that Eli... (full context)
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...Sophie’s trance. Fleur tells her there’s no need to do that. She tells Pauline that Eli is on the trapline. Pauline says that the last time she saw him, Eli was... (full context)
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Eli returns with six ducks on a string, and still Sophie does not move. Eli gathers... (full context)
Chapter 5: Fall 1917-Spring 1918, Manitou-geezis, Strong Spirit Sun
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Eli arrives at Nanapush’s house with an offering of some provisions, in the hopes that Nanapush... (full context)
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Nanapush changes the subject to ask Eli what he will do with the cash he is offered for his land allotment, and... (full context)
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Eli eats the gopher stew and grimaces at the foul taste. He tells Nanapush that he... (full context)
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...a treaty that would concentrate the Ojibwe people, and he was fired. Nanapush knows that Eli cannot understand the tribe’s current situation or history in the way that he does. He... (full context)
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After six days of putting Eli up, Nanapush has had enough of Eli eating his cupboard bare. On the seventh day,... (full context)
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Nanapush mentally reminds Eli not to startle the moose because its adrenaline would sour the meat. When the animal... (full context)
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Nanapush meets Eli on his return, and removes the meat from his body—it has all frozen into Eli’s... (full context)
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Eli tells Nanapush that one night Fleur slipped out of the cabin and Eli followed her... (full context)
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Nanapush tells Eli that he is foolish and ungrateful. Nanapush says that Eli must start over with Fleur... (full context)
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Nanapush says the rift between the people of the tribe grows after the incident between Eli and Sophie, expanding to include the differing opinions about money and settlements. Nanapush, Margaret, and... (full context)
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...just about land, but about Clarence wanting to humiliate Margaret in the same way that Eli has humiliated his sister Sophie. Nanapush tries to discourage them from assaulting Margaret by lying... (full context)
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...cutting it. Margaret is happy he saved the braids. Nector vows to get revenge with Eli, but Eli is tending to his traps in an attempt to reconcile with Fleur. Margaret... (full context)
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...pair of patent leather shoes tied to her belt because they’re too fancy to wear. Eli had trapped a family of minks and sold the furs for the shoes, flour, a... (full context)
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Eli returns to Fleur and she accepts him back. People fish through the ice on the... (full context)
Chapter 6: Spring 1918-Winter 1919, Payaetonookaedaed-geeziz, Wood Louse Sun
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...in, and Fleur calls her a Morrissey. Pauline enters anyway, asking for something to eat. Eli refuses to acknowledge Pauline. Fleur removes her headscarf to remind Pauline of her bald head.... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
...Fleur tells Lulu to gather snow to melt into water from outside. Margaret leaves, accompanying Eli and Nector to town to sell some wood to pay the land fees. Pauline allows... (full context)
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
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...Fleur bats her away. Margaret wraps the baby in a box and gives it to Eli, who ties the tiny coffin high in the trees, out of reach of the forest... (full context)
Chapter 7: Winter 1918-Spring 1919, Paguk Beboon, Skeleton Winter
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...had become lost, and suffered more because she’d worn her thin, fancy shoes. Margaret curses Eli for buying them and tries to burn them. Margaret instructs Nanapush on how to warm... (full context)
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The next day, Fleur cuts a hole in the ice of the lake to fish. Eli wrestles her home and tends the line himself, but catches only a tiny perch. That... (full context)
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Eli goes to town to get the last of the supplies due to them, but Nanapush... (full context)
Chapter 9: Fall 1919-1924, Minomini-geezis, Wild Rice Sun
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Nanapush realizes that Eli must already know the truth, but shares what he’s learned anyway. Nanapush then says that,... (full context)
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Eli suggests that Fleur could live on the Kashpaw land if she will marry him. She... (full context)
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Eli dives in after her to try to save her, but Fleur struggles against him. Eli... (full context)
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...of her cabin, and he knows Moses is also nearby. With the lumberjacks close behind, Eli among them, Eli tries to talk Fleur into evacuating her house so they can cut... (full context)