Tracks

Matchimanito Symbol Analysis

Matchimanito Symbol Icon

Matchimanito is seen as the purest area on the reservation, the lake on which the Pillager cabin sits. Tribe members and villagers alike are afraid of this area, though drawn to it for its vibrant resources. A lake monster named Misshepeshu is rumored to live in the water, conjured by one of Fleur’s ancestors to protect the Pillager land. While Fleur “drowns” in the lake at three points in her life, she is saved each time, and the reason is rumored to be that she has a special, perhaps romantic, relationship with the monster. The people believe Fleur is able to evoke the lake monster to cause harm to those who threaten her livelihood. Matchimanito is situated at the western edge of the reservation, the direction in which it is believe the land of the dead exists. When people in their culture die, they face west, and at the western edge of the woods, spirits are sometimes heard talking to one another. The western edge of the land is also the direction from which the lumbering companies approach Fleur’s land allotment. While the threats of government intrusion and white influence menace the reservation, as tribe members sell off their land, accept Catholicism in place of the old traditions, and accept the government rations when their resources dwindle, Matchimanito stands as a symbol of the old way of life, free of the influence of white civilization.

Matchimanito Quotes in Tracks

The Tracks quotes below all refer to the symbol of Matchimanito. 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 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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Matchimanito Symbol Timeline in Tracks

The timeline below shows where the symbol Matchimanito appears in Tracks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Winter 1912, Manitou-geezisohns, Little Spirit Sun
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
Nanapush says he found Fleur in her family’s cabin on Matchimanito Lake, where he and his companion in the tribal police fear that the retaliation of... (full context)
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
When he is well enough, Nanapush returns to Matchimanito to bury Fleur’s family. He makes the markers for their graves, scratching images of bears... (full context)
Chapter 2: Summer 1913, Miskomini-geezis, Raspberry Sun
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
Pauline leaves Argus. Fleur has moved back to Matchimanito. Pauline says she is the only one to visit Fleur at her home. She says... (full context)
Chapter 3: Fall 1913-Spring 2014, Onaubin-geezis, Crust on the Snow Sun
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
...something is wrong, but they cannot tell what. A black dog guards the turnoff to Matchimanito, attacking a woman and her children when they hold up a cross to scare the... (full context)
Chapter 5: Fall 1917-Spring 1918, Manitou-geezis, Strong Spirit Sun
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
...and she accepts him back. People fish through the ice on the surface of Lake Matchimanito and hear cries of pleasure from within Fleur’s cabin, though no one ever emerges. The... (full context)
Chapter 7: Winter 1918-Spring 1919, Paguk Beboon, Skeleton Winter
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
...burn them. Margaret instructs Nanapush on how to warm Lulu, and then runs to the Matchimanito cabin. Lulu struggles against Nanapush’s embrace as she thaws. Nanapush talks all night to try... (full context)
Chapter 8: Spring 1919, Baubaukunaetae-geezis, Patches of Earth Sun
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
...instead of taking the road to the afterlife, she finds herself on the shores of Matchimanito, and sees the lake monster rise before her. She awakes, taking in a deep breath... (full context)
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
Birth, Death, and Survival Theme Icon
...leaving strange tracks with her shoes worn on the wrong feet. She wants to visit Matchimanito one last time before she takes her vows as novice, and then she will leave... (full context)
Chapter 9: Fall 1919-1924, Minomini-geezis, Wild Rice Sun
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
On his way back to Matchimanito, Nanapush considers the deep scars in the land from the lumbering company. He sees the... (full context)
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
...love her as fully, after she saved only the Kashpaw land. Nanapush continues to visit Matchimanito in the following weeks, and is there when the surveyors find Napoleon’s body. Napoleon is... (full context)
Tradition, Assimilation, and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Destruction vs. Outside Influences Theme Icon
The Importance of Nature in Indigenous Life Theme Icon
...these threats, including herself. After sending Lulu off to the government school, Fleur returns to Matchimanito to live alone. Margaret spends her time gathering berries and making preserves for Nector, who... (full context)