Part 1: Waabanong (“East”)
Part 2: Zhaawanong (“South”)
Part 3: Ningaabii’an (“West”)
Part 4: Kewaadin (“North”)
Part 1: Waabanong (“East”)
Chapters 1 – 2
Daunis Lorenza Fontaine is an upcoming college freshman at Lake Superior State University (“Lake State”) in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan who is planning on a pre-med track. Before sunrise, she makes a “semaa” (a type of plant) offering at the Prayer Tree and then jogs past Fontaine Hall, a college dorm named after her maternal grandfather.
Each morning, Daunis has been visiting EverCare, a care facility near her family’s home where her grandmother, Mary Fontaine (whom she calls “GrandMary“), has been for the last six weeks. Mary had a stroke at Daunis’s graduation ceremony, followed by a month-long hospital stay. Her Uncle David also died two months before Mary’s stroke.
At EverCare, Mrs. Bonasera, the head nurse, tells her that her mother is there already. Daunis informs Mary and her mother that she’s deferring admission to the University of Michigan and will be attending Lake State for her freshman year.
Mary is from Daunis mother’s side, the “Zhaaganaash” (white) side, of the family. Her maternal grandfather was Grandpa Lorenzo. Meanwhile, Daunis’s father’s side is the Anishinaabe (or “Nish”) (Indigenous Natives) side and the Firekeeper side of the family. Her paternal grandmother was Grandmother Pearl, and her paternal relatives live on Sugar Island, nearby.
Culturally, the two sides are different; Mary taught her to be skeptical of Native “superstitions”, while Pearl believed in “connections and teachings that run deeper than our known world”.
Daunis’s family has been gossiped about around the area because her father, Levi Firekeeper, was once a promising hockey player. Her mother, Grace Fontaine had been the “richest, whitest girl in town”, and she’d gotten pregnant at 16. Then, just before the scouts came around, Levi had gotten into a car accident where he broke his legs, ending his career. The Fontaine family had wanted to keep Levi from knowing about the baby, so Levi had gone off, married someone else, and had Levi Jr, Daunis’s half brother. Grace was sent away while she was pregnant, but did end up telling Levi about the baby.
Daunis’s best friend is Lily Chippeway, who is white from her father’s side and Native on her mother’s side. While Daunis is quite pale, Lily has reddish-brown skin. Lily is excited at the prospect of Daunis being at Lake State with her for freshman year. Granny June is Lily’s great-grandmother.
The Sugar Island Ojibwe Tribe is having a Tribal Council election today, but neither Daunis or Lily are eligible to vote because they are not “enrolled” members of the tribe (Daunis’s father is not listed on her birth certificate, and Lily does not meet the “blood-quantum requirement”).
Chapters 3 – 4
Daunis and Lily go to the community center. Daunis’s brother Levi, a high school senior, is there practicing hockey as captain of the Superiors (“Supes”) team, an “elite Junior A league team” for serious hockey players. He calls Daunis “Bubble” (short for bubble butt), a nickname she dislikes. Daunis is a former hockey player as well, but doesn’t play anymore.
Lily’s on-again-off-again ex is Travis Flint, who is also friends with Levi, but Travis has a substance abuse problem so Daunis hopes to keep him away from Lily. Daunis’s ex is Toivo Jon (“TJ”) Kewadin, who recently became a tribal cop. Daunis dated TJ for three months in high school, but he dumped her a month after she started sleeping (“snagging”) with him.
Levi introduces Daunis to Jamie Johnson, the newest member of the Supes. Everyone has been gossiping about Jamie because of his good looks and a mysterious scar across his face. Jamie is Cherokee, but did not grow up with his extended family and is unfamiliar with many Native customs.
As they talk, it turns out Jamie’s uncle will be filling a teaching job at Sault High left vacant by the death of Daunis’s Uncle David. The police say David’s death involved substance abuse, but Daunis’s mother insists he was 13+ years sober and didn’t touch alcohol, much less other substances.
Daunis also runs into her Aunt Teddy (Theodora Firekeeper), and Daunis offers to watch her kids, six-year-old twins Perry and Pauline.
That night, Daunis drives the twins home to Sugar Island. Teddy and her husband, Art, greet Daunis warmly. When Daunis expresses concern about college, Teddy dismisses her worries, saying that her Fontaine background will protect her. Daunis is from two of the oldest families in the area, but the two sides of her are so different that she often feels she doesn’t fit in anywhere. The Firekeepers sometimes see her as a Fontaine, while the Fontaines see her Native side as some type of impediment.
Daunis has planned a small celebration for tomorrow night at GrandMarie’s house which has been sitting empty. She gets a text from Jamie saying he was invited by Levi. She’d heard that Jamie has a girlfriend, but is curious about him anyway.
Daunis stays at Teddy and Art’s house that night, and she overhears a phone conversation about a “blanket party” taking place that night — where a guy is rolled into a blanket and beaten up by women for doing something bad to another woman. Daunis wants to go to help establish her Nish cred, but Teddy says no, saying it’s too “ugly and messed up” for Daunis to be involved in. Teddy leaves.
Chapters 5 – 6
The next morning, Teddy is back. She seems upset by the events of last night’s “blanket party”, but doesn’t say anything.
That night is the party. Daunis chats with Jamie, and Levi pushes Daunis to be Jamie’s “ambassador” (in charge of showing him around) until she finally agrees. Two days later, Jamie joins her for her morning run. When they pass by the Soo Locks (a set of water locks to enable ships to pass), Daunis tells Jamie about the indigenous fishing villages in that area that were destroyed in order to build it.
The next morning there’s hard rain, so Jamie and Daunis go running at a fitness center nearby instead. Daunis tries to remind herself to be respectful of Jamie’s relationship with his girlfriend. Jamie is reluctant to talk about himself, but he eventually tells her about his parents getting divorced when he was young. His mom raised him, and Uncle Ron, was his father figure. Jamie is Native from his father’s side. He’s been with his girlfriend, Jennifer, for three years.
On Friday, Jamie asks Daunis if she can show him around the tribe’s powwow that is happening the next day, since he’s never been to one. Daunis agrees. As they jog, the subject of casinos also comes up, and Daunis says that tribe members (not her, because she’s not “enrolled”) get money from the casinos. She’s heard that it’s around 36K a year for adults and about a 1/3 of that for kids.
That day, Daunis invites Jamie to meet GrandMary, and when he speaks French to Mary, Daunis is impressed.
Chapters 7 – 9
Daunis starts calling Jamie “buddy” to remind herself of the platonic nature of their friendship. On the way to the powwow, Jamie tells her that he also speaks Spanish and a little Italian.
When he asks her about her family, she fills him in on what everyone else knows about her family. Daunis also mentions that after the pregnancy, her father couldn’t get work anywhere on the U.P. (upper peninsula) because her grandfather owned the largest construction company in the area, didn’t like Native Americans and blackballed him. Her father ended up in Ontario and later died in a logging accident when she and Levi were 7.
Daunis and Jamie also talk about prejudice against Natives. She describes how at the border, Nish people are interrogated much more fully and how people like Art (who is Black and Native) have guns pulled on them. Because Daunis is pale and has a Canadian birth certificate, she goes shopping for Art and Teddy if they want to buy something from across the border.
At the powwow, Jamie jumps to cover Daunis when some fireworks go off. It makes her realize he must’ve grown up in some dangerous neighborhoods. Soon, they join Daunis’s family. The powwow begins with the Grand Entry, a procession including many veterans and dancers representing the various styles of dance (“Traditional, Fancy, Grass, Jingle”). Daunis explains to him that each part of the regalia has a meaning specific to the person wearing it, linking them to their ancestors and teachers.
When Travis shows up to talk to Lily, Daunis tries to run interference, but Lily insists on talking to him. Privately, Daunis tells Jamie that Travis is a meth head. When Travis didn’t make any of the hockey teams, he started dabbling in drugs. Daunis explains that meth is cheaper than drinking and “lasts longer”. Travis’s mom got hooked on it, too, and Lily caught him cooking meth last summer.
After the powwow, Daunis heads to Sugar Island for a post-powwow party for teens. She text her mom about it, but omits that she’d going with Jamie since she doesn’t want her mom to ask questions. At the party, Levi teases Daunis about Jamie, and she gets mad at him for the girls he dates and tosses away.
Daunis then spots Lily who is with Travis and upset. But when she reaches to get Lily away from him, he suddenly pulls out a gun on Daunis. Lily reaches for the gun. A shot goes off.
Chapters 10 – 12
Lily has been shot dead. As Travis looks in horror, he shoots himself in the head. Jamie sees rushes over. Daunis notices how calm he is and how he checks out Lily like a first responder would; she thinks of his military-like reaction to the fireworks. Afterwards, Daunis asks Jamie if he’s actually a cop. He eventually admits he’s an undercover cop. Daunis realizes his “Uncle Ron” is probably his uncle, but rather his supervisor.
As the police descend on the scene, they leave, and Jamie tells Daunis not to speak to anyone about what happened. As they leave the area in their car, TJ (on duty as an officer) stops to ID them and notices Daunis there. Jamie drops her off at her mother’s house.
The next day, Daunis goes to the funeral home where Lily is now in a casket. As Firekeepers, Daunis knows her family members will be tending a ceremonial fire for Lily which will burn for four days and four nights (whereupon it will burn it will burn endlessly in the afterlife). Those four days mark Lily’s journey into the afterlife.
On the second day, Lily’s mother Maggie is there. Daunis was once told that Granny June’s two daughters (one of which is Maggie’s mother) had been (involuntarily) taken by the Church to a strict boarding school in order to have Native culture beaten out of them. Maggie’s mother was constantly fearful, and her sister later killed herself.
On the third day, Jamie shows up with Ron at the funeral home. They speak privately with Daunis and admit that Jamie works with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”), a federal office. Ron (Ron Cornell) is a senior agent with the FBI. They are investigating drug-trafficking and meth in particular.
There’s been a pattern of meth showing up in hockey towns and reservations in the Great Lakes area, and they want to figure out who is cooking it. They’re in Sault, specifically, because there are mushroom that can be used to cook meth that grow near Tahquamenon Falls, roughly 75 miles away, and other areas nearby. They also think the person cooking it has cultural connections to the area and are familiar with the plants nearby, since a unique variant of it has been circulating nearby (which they’re calling “meth-X”) that caused severe hallucinations. He say that Travis is one of the people they were looking at.
They take Daunis to her Uncle’s old classroom, and Ron reveals that her Uncle David was a CI, a confidential informant, and they think his death was suspicious. Daunis thinks about how her mother never lost faith that Uncle David had maintained his sobriety, even when toxicology reports said otherwise. They’ve ruled Daunis out (her trust fund means she lacks financial motive and she doesn’t appear to be attention-seeking) as a suspect. Instead, they want her to take Uncle David’s place in the investigation.
Feeling manipulated by Jamie, Daunis initially declines the offer to join their investigation. They drop her back off with her family.
On the last day of Lily’s journey to the afterlife, Daunis notes bitterly how the tribe’s council members are largely absent, likely at Travis’s funeral instead, because she was not an “enrolled” member. Despite his actions, Travis was an “enrolled” member and from a large family. As Teddy says a prayer for Lily, she refers to her as “Liliban” since it is customary to add an -iban modifier for those in the afterlife.
As the casket is escorted out, Daunis spots Angie Flint, Travis’s mother, and feels angry. When Daunis yells at Angie, Jamie reminds Daunis that drugs are at the heart of the problem. Daunis thinks about how the drug epidemic could someday affect her young niece and nephew, and she decides she’ll agree to be a CI for Jamie and Ron.
Part 2: Zhaawanong (“South”)
Chapters 14 – 17
The next day, Daunis heads to Marquette, the location of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan (“USAO”), with Jamie and Ron. On the way, Ron explains to her some guidelines about her involvement, such as exercising discretion by only talking about the investigation when they say it’s okay to do so. Ron tells her that if they instruct her to do something and she gets that information via illegal means, it can invalidate that evidence in court (“fruit of the poisonous tree”). Instead, it’s better if Daunis brings things to them of her own volition.
Ron shows her a garage that will serve as a drop-off point for stuff, and he also mentions that she needs to learn how to make meth since it’ll help her identify things used to to produce it. Ron also mentions that she and Jamie will spend a weekend at a lab for training purposes (though Daunis worries that it’ll look like she’s trying to steal him from his girlfriend, who turns out to be non-existent).
At the USAO office, Daunis signs the agreement, but she also worries about balancing her desire to protect her community with her commitment to this role. (In the book Daunis starts referring to herself half-jokingly as a “Secret Squirrel”.)
Because she is grieving, it’s traditional that she will not be harvesting medicines for a year, which is when the older tribe members often teach about the plants. Instead, Daunis needs to find a different way to learn more about plants for the purpose of the investigation, so she approaches Jonsy Kewadin, TJ’s grandfather, to go gathering with him. Daunis got to know TJ’s family while they were dating, and she knows Jonsy likes to talk.
As they go scavenging for stuff at a landfill, Jonsy chats. Then, Daunis spots a bag that seems out of place, and she catches a whiff of the smell of meth. She herds Jonsy out of there, but Daunis is determined to get that bag and any evidence it might contain. Afterwards, Daunis calls Jamie. He agrees to meet her, they retrieve the bag, and they bring it to the drop-off point. When Ron shows up, they go through the contents, which include components for making meth such as lithium batteries and cold-and-flu medication. Ron suggests that Jamie and Daunis plan their weekend at the lab (to learn more about these things) sooner rather than later.
Chapters 18 – 19
The weekend of the lab trip, Daunis lies and tells her mother she’s going to a geology seminar at Michigan Tech. Meanwhile, Daunis lets others believe that Jamie has broken up with his girlfriend, and that she and Jamie are a new couple having a romantic weekend away in Marquette.
They arrive at the hotel in Marquette, and soon go to the federal crime lab. They’re shown a documentary on meth usage, and then a lab guy instructs them on how meth is made. After they leave the lab, Daunis asks Jamie about Meth-X. Jamie explains that there was group of kids from Minnesota who took it. They ended up aggressive, paranoid and had a group hallucination that a bunch of men were chasing them in the woods.
The next morning, Daunis is still sour with Jamie (for flirting with her to get information) and won’t let him go jogging with her. At the lab, they go over “meth lingo”, meth paraphernalia and things like what a certain amount of meth should sell for. They also practice making meth again. That night, Daunis and Jamie go to a restaurant that Levi had suggested, in order to substantiate their story about their fake romantic weekend. Jamie finally admits to Daunis that he is actually 22, not 18. Over dinner, Daunis feels guarded thinking about how she had developed real feeling for him while he’d been pretending.
On the way back, Jamie asks about Daunis’s experience as a girl on the boy’s hockey team and about her coach, Robert LaFleur (“Coach Bobby”). They also establish rules about their fake relationship. Jamie also admits that the scar on his face was from a knife, not a car accident.
They get back in time to attend a Labor Day party at Coach Bobby’s cabin together. There, Levi asks if he and his best friends, Stormy Nodin and Mike Edwards, can join her for her daily run tomorrow morning. Daunis understands that Levi is trying to be supportive of her in this difficult time, and she agrees.
Chapters 20 – 21
The next morning, Jamie asks Daunis about comment Levi made about her being the “Firekeeper’s Daughter“. Daunis says it’s in refence to a story about the original firekeeper’s daughter, but she doesn’t really like the story. She’s a nameless character with the responsibility of lifting the sun into the sky each morning. Her sons are named after each of the four cardinal directions.
Before Levi and Stormy join them, Daunis explains that Levi lives in a studio apartment above his mom, Dana Firekeeper’s, garage. Stormy often stays at Levi’s place because Stormy’s parents fight a lot. Dana has always helped to look out for Stormy. While Dana is deposits Levi’s “per-capita” (casino/”per-cap”) money into a joint account, Stormy’s mother Shawna Nodin does not.
The next day, classes begin at Lake State. Robin Bailey, who graduated with TJ’s class, convinces Daunis to take less classes because she’s still grieving. There’s also word that Heather Nodin, one of Stormy’s many cousins, is missing, last seen on Labor Day. Daunis recalls that she last saw Heather that night at Coach Bobby’s party when Heather offered her drugs.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Daunis hears Bucky Nodin, Heather’s great-uncle, mention that there are mushrooms that grow on Duck Island. Ron and Jamie know about three mushroom locations already: Tahquamenon Falls, Pictured Rocks, and Sugar Island. They also knew that David had been interested in a location near Duck Lake, which borders Duck Island.
On Saturday, Daunis heads to Duck Island to investigate, looking for traces of a unique variety of mushroom. However, she discovers Heather Nodin’s body instead.
Chapters 22 – 23
The police arrive, and Daunis goes home. That night, Jamie goes to her house. She introduces him to her cat, Herri, named after the first Native American to walk in space, John Herrington. Jamie says that Ron doesn’t think Heather’s drowning is suspicious, but Daunis was reservations.
Heather was originally Heather Swanson, and her father denied paternity. However, the per-capita (casino money) rules dictate that a minor’s custodial parent gets their per-capita. So, when the money started coming in, her father Joey Nodin claimed paternity end enrolled Heather. Then, rumor has it, Joey paid to set Heather’s mom up for a drug bust so she would lose custody.
Daunis says that the per-capita has brought good and bad, like Heather’s situation, to the Tribe. Because of Heather, the Tribe now requires blood DNA tests (not just random ancestry test) to verify paternity for non-tribal members trying to enroll their children.
When Jamie mentions they found meth and marijuana on Heather, Daunis finds it strange that Heather didn’t have meth on her when she offered drugs to Daunis the night she went missing.
Daunis’s next step is to go through Uncle David’s things, which are all stored in the basement of GrandMary’s house. However, she’s disappointed to see that although he kept many notebooks, there aren’t any from the year he became a CI.
That week, Daunis continues to visit Duck Island to investigate and document the mushroom varieties. When the season opener for the Supes rolls around, Daunis attends and joins the girls she refers to as “anglerfishes” (hockey girlfriends because they are “a bottom-dweller fish that bites its mate and fuses with it. A parasitic appendage unable to exist separately.”) as Jamie’s fake girlfriend.
After the game, Ron talks to Grant Edwards, Mike’s father who is also the best defense attorney in the U.P. and the sponsor of the Booster Bus. Ron wants to get a place on the bus, but there’s along waitlist. Grant offers to let Ron and Daunis ride next weekend at least just to try it out. Daunis also asks tech-savvy Mike for help with her phone in order to get an invitation into his home. She hopes to take a look at Grant’s files, since he has represented some shady people in the area. Daunis gets an invite one of the Edwards’ Sunday Buffets they organize, and Mrs. Edwards encourages her to bring along Jamie and Ron.
Chapters 24 – 26
On Sunday, Daunis, Jamie and Ron head to Mike’s house, where a number of hockey people (the coaches, Levi, etc.) will be as well. On the way, Daunis tells them about how Levi, Stormy, Mike and Travis once were playing with BB guns and Travis hit a car window. The woman in the car, was the mom of a team-member, was blinded. Travis eventually took responsibility and was kicked off the hockey teams.
When Jamie and Ron chide her for not telling them this earlier, Daunis gets angry, saying a bunch of town gossip. She accuses them of just wanting to hear bad things about all the people she knows, without caring about the good things. She says that “you haven’t earned our stories”.
At the buffet, they chat about the upcoming gala, the Sault Hockey Association Gala (“Shagala”). Mrs. Edwards owns a local boutique and it’s great for sales. When Coach Bobby brings up how Daunis could still play hockey for the national team, she feels awkward, knowing the truth about why she no longer plays hockey. When Mike and Daunis go up to his room so he can help her set up her phone, Daunis purposely leaves her old phone there to go back and retrieve it later. She then uses that opportunity to make her way to the home office to take photos, though she isn’t able to find the key to the file cabinet in the desk. She notes that the desk was actually her Grandpa Lorenzo’s old desk.
On her way back, Mike stops her. Daunis is alarmed at first, but the he kisses her, having misread the situation. When she rejects him, he gets angry and aggressive and turns into a person she doesn’t recognize.
Daunis continues her trips to Duck Island, cutting classes in order to complete her survey before autumn leaves have covered everything up. On Friday, she plans to cut her research short so she can go on the Booster Bus with Ron.
However, when she goes to take Granny June to lunch at the Elder Center as usual, things are different. Teddy is there, having found documentation that Daunis’s dad once compiled for Daunis to “enroll” in the tribe. They found the documentation in the attic, including signed affidavits about why her father was left off her birth certificate in the first place. Daunis has until her 19th birthday to enroll, which is 7 days away on October 1st.
When Daunis says that she doesn’t need the validation, Granny June reminds her that this decision will affect her children and grandchildren as well. Thinking about how it could help the investigation, too, Daunis agrees. Dozens of tribal Elders then hand her additional affidavits to support her application.
Afterwards, on the Booster Bus, Daunis is reminded of the divide in her two worlds. The bus is all white, except for two other people. At the game, Daunis overhears a man she knows is a lawyer talking about Ryan Cheneaux. Ryan is a guy from high school who has always been disrespectful about the tribe, but apparently he’s now applying to enroll. Before, it was a secret that his dad was Joey Nodin, but now Ryan’s mother, Tina Cheneaux, has admitted it, likely so they can get his per-cap money. The lawyer brags that he’ll receive a percentage of the per-cap money for ten years as payment for arranging everything.
When the game ends, Ron explains why Jamie has been acting a bit cool towards Daunis. He says he told Jamie to “cool it” with their fake relationship, since he’s been doing this long enough to realize when people are no longer faking their feelings.
That night, she returns to her hotel room, and she’s annoyed to see Grant Edwards in a room nearby, who she thinks is creepy.
Chapters 27 – 28
When Daunis talks to Jamie, he has questions about tribal enrollment. She explains that the rules for each tribe are different. For Sugar Island, it’s much easier as a child. For adults,you generally can’t enroll unless you fall into an exception, such as being adopted out. Daunis notes that he reacts when she brings up adoption, and she realizes that must’ve been what happened to him.
The next day, the hockey girlfriends give Daunis a gift of a jersey. While it’s customary to put their boyfriend’s last name, because Daunis is associated with many members of the team, they put “Daunis” on the back instead. Daunis is touched by the gift itself and their thoughtfulness, and it makes her rethink how dismissive she has been towards them.
Then, she gets a text saying that Robin Bailey is dead from what appears to be an overdose.
Upon hearing this, Daunis hides in the bathroom. Robin was a former hockey player, too, and Levi and Mike come up with the idea of a charity game in her honor, to support drug-prevention programs. When Jamie reminds Daunis to focus on the investigation, they get into an argument, but Levi sneaks into her room later, they make up and kiss. Grant sees Levi leave.
That night, Daunis finally remembers the conversation that Lily and Travis had before he shot her, which Daunis had blocked out before. She remembers Lily breaking up with Travis for good, saying that he needed to get help and she couldn’t do it anymore.
Chapters 29 – 30
On the Booster Bus, Grant reminds Daunis of how Levi broke the rules by sneaking up to Daunis’s room. Ron also gives Daunis an inventory of everything found on Heather’s body.
Meanwhile, Daunis comes up with a plan of action for herself: finishing her research on Duck Island, following up on Uncle David’s journals, trying to get an extra set of keys to Grant Edwards’s desk, asking Stormy about Heather and Robin, and looking into Robin’s death.
Back home, Danuis runs into Robin’s parents. Daunis offers her condolences. But when she mentions seeing Robin on the Lake State campus recently, Robin’s mother is confused and insists that Robin wasn’t taking any classes. Robin had gotten addicted to painkillers and ended up using meth. They’d been trying to convince Robin to go to rehab.
Afterwards, Daunis wonders why Robin had been on campus with a backpack. She wonders if Robin had been dealing meth. Daunis has now also finished scouting Duck Island, but still hasn’t identified any new varieties of mushrooms. She also talks to her mother about the journals and desk key, but also to no avail.
On Monday, Daunis goes in for her blood test, to be submitted as part of her tribal application. At the tribal enrollment office, she runs into Stormy, who has misplaced his passport. Instead, Daunis offers to drive him home to look for it. At his house, he finds the passport. Daunis thinks about how Stormy’s per-cap check is their family’s only income, since Stormy’s father’s check is garnished due to prior legal troubles.
Before they leave, Stormy asks his parents for money for food, but there’s not enough. Daunis texts Levi to tell him to offer to buy his friends dinner. She then checks her and Levi’s joint account, which usually contains a few hundred in spending money, to make sure there’s enough cash to cover dinner for everyone. She’s shocked when the bank teller alerts her that there’s over 10K more in the account than she expected. The teller offers to add her e-mail address to receive future statements.
With dread, Daunis worries that Levi could be involved in the drug trade. Then, she tries to convince herself it must just be excess money now that Levi is getting the adult amount for his per-capita.
That night, Daunis dreams again about what Travis had said before he shot himself. He’d said something about “Little People” being after him. Then, Daunis recalls that one of the Elders, Leonard Manitou, had once said something about the “Little People” as well.
Daunis then overheads her mother talking to herself and crying over what had happened with Daunis’s father so long ago, and Daunis goes to comfort her. The night Grace had wanted to tell Levi Sr. about being pregnant, he’s gotten drunk and cheated on her with Dana. She’d been upset, driving off. Levi had jumped in the car, and Grace got into the accident, trying to serve around a deer, that broke his legs. She then lied and said that Levi was the one driving because she was angry with him. Later, when she tried to tell the truth, no one believed her, and Levi ended up with Dana instead.
Chapters 32 – 33
Three days after her death, there is a catholic funeral for Robin Bailey. Daunis remembers when Robin got her collarbone injury that resulted in her getting hooked on oxy. Both Daunis and Robin had been sent to the hospital when an opponent slammed into them, but Teddy had rejected the oxy prescription that the doctor gave Daunis, saying she’d take Tylenol instead.
Meanwhile, the Robin Joy Bailey Memorial Foundation is being set up, with many people committing to donations and the charity hockey game taking place on Friday. Daunis agrees to play in the game as well, but when Teddy finds out, Teddy is angry with her. It turns into an argument, and Teddy says that Daunis is never around anymore. Later, she gets a text from Teddy demanding that she come over tomorrow night.
Later that day, Daunis takes Granny June to the Elder Center, and she looks out for Leonard to ask about the “Little People”. Leonard says it happened when he 5 years old and lost in the woods. He had been scared, but the “Little People” had shown up and guided him home. Apparently, he’d been gone for two days. After that, his parents would leave small offerings for the “Little People” as thanks.
Daunis thinks about how she has heard others talk about the “Little People” before, but never paid much attention. Leonard also tells her about a cousin, Skinny “Elmer” Manitou, who liked to sniff gasoline and the “Little People” would get mad at him. Elmer later died when he accidently lit himself on fire.
Next, Daunis goes to find Levi to ask about the bank account. He casually responds that he’s buying some land in Ontario, so he thought it would be easier to use the joint account which is a Canadian account. He then asks if Daunis would be interested in investing with him. When Daunis is reluctant to mix business and family, Levi tells her to just think about it.
Then, Levi asks what Daunis wants for her birthday. Daunis says she’d like a scarf that once belonged to their father, which Levi has said in the past was somewhere around his mom’s house. It’s the scarf he used to pull Daunis and Levi around in when they were little in the skating rink. Levi agrees.
Afterwards, Daunis goes in to Mrs. Edwards’s boutique for a dress fitting for the Shagala. The store location was once Grandpa Lorenzo’s office. Something Mrs. Edwards says reminds Daunis that there might be a secret compartment on Uncle David’s old desk.
Chapters 34 – 35
Daunis heads into Uncle David’s old science classroom. With some tools, she’s able to uncover a blue notebook hidden in the desk. The next day, Daunis gets a chance to read the notebook. It begins September 2, 2003, which was the beginning of Daunis’s senior year. Uncle David writes about people using nicknames, and Daunis notices one in particular that he mentions more frequently, Light Bulb. Based on the description, she knows it’s likely the nickname for Travis Flint.
In the journal, in December, Uncle David starts helping Light Bulb with a project “testing plant toxicity and its spread into surrounding organic material”, but Light Bulb gets impatient and eventually stops showing up. Eventually, the journal starts being written in a language that David and Daunis’s mother made up as kids — a mix of “French, Italian, and quirky made-up words”. Daunis does notice references to mushrooms and Duck Island. Daunis recalls how Lily had caught Travis cooking meth over winter break and how Lilly had suggested to his mother to get him help, but was rebuffed.
Daunis sees the first mention of the FBI in David’s journal in January. Like Daunis, David had went through the FBI training at the lab and then proceeded to document mushroom varieties on Duck Island. Each entry of mushroom in David’s journal is accompanied by its scientific name except for one, which he came across on April 4, 2004. He describes it as being parasitic and growing on hallucinogenic mushrooms, but it appeared to be a dead end since it “did not share the same hallucinogenic qualities as its hallucinogenic host.” She also notes how David refers to meth as “bad medicine”.
For his last entry, on April 9, 2004, David’s plan had been to talk to Light Bulb’s mother. David had been reported missing two days later. Daunis also thinks about how David his this in a place where only she would have thought to look for it.
Afterwards, Daunis meets with Jamie and Ron. She only tells them that she’s finished her mushroom assessment, to no avail. But it’s possible the differing weather conditions (compared to when Travis was there) could affect what mushrooms are growing. It’s possible those mushrooms are a fluke. Daunis asks for more information about what happened to the Minnesota meth-X users, but Ron doesn’t want to tell her more. Finally, Ron does add that one guy claimed they were chased by “small men”. Daunis realizes that the “Little People” must’ve seen them and scolded them, which means it’s possible that meth-X is not hallucinogenic at all if the “Little People” are real. However, Daunis does not tell Jamie or Ron about what she’s figured out.
At home, Daunis realizes she forgot to meet with Teddy, and Teddy is instead parked in the driveway.
Chapters 36 – 37
Teddy demands that Daunis come with her, and Daunis does as she’s told. At her house, there is an intervention ritual prepared. Teddy seems to think that Daunis’s behavior is at least in part due to her relationship with Jamie. Daunis thinks about how Teddy has loved and raised her and is very tempted to tell Teddy the truth. However, she knows that doing so would put Teddy in danger.
Afterwards, Daunis decides to tear out and burn the last few pages of David’s notebook so it appears he never concluded his research, and she turns the remainder of the notebook in to Jamie and Ron. She resolves to let the FBI continue their search for hallucinogenic mushrooms, in hopes that they will leave their medicines and community alone. Daunis also thinks she knows how Travis created meth-X.
Daunis recalls when things had been rocky between Travis and Lily, he’d tried to win her back each time with grand gestures. On one Valentines Day, he’d said that he’d made a “love medicine”, but Lily had refused to take it with him. Instead, Travis must’ve added it to a batch of meth.
The next day is Daunis’s birthday as well as the charity hockey game. When she sees Jamie, he says that she can tell by the way she’s acting that she has “gone rogue” and is hiding things from them. He also says he noticed the notebook she gave them has 145 pages, but it’s a 150 page notebook.
Chapters 38 – 40
Later, Daunis heads to the rink for the game between the Supes and the Sault High Blue Devils (Daunis’s team). She gets a text from Teddy reminding her that it’s foolish of her to play. Daunis is enjoying being back on the ice until Stormy crashes into her, causing her previously injured shoulder severe pain. The Supes eventually win, but only barely.
After the game, Daunis learn that the tribal council met early, and she is officially an enrolled member of the tribe. After everyone is done celebrating, Daunis asks Jamie to drive her to the emergency room. The doctor, Dr. Bonasera, does a sensory test, and Daunis confirms that the part of her arm above her elbow is entirely numb from nerve damage. Dr. Bonasera also reminds her that she risks further nerve damage when she reinjures it.
After the doctor’s visit, Daunis and Jamie pick up food and have a picnic in the woods. They kiss and talk. Jamie reminds Daunis that he doesn’t know how any of this will end, but Daunis wants to forget about it and have sex. As they do, Jamie says “I love you” to Daunis, and she gets upset, saying that it’s a lie. She thinks about the many lies that men have told her (“Guy Lies”), starting with her father when she was young, saying that he had to leave temporarily and that when he was back, everything would be different.
Afterwards, Jamie drives her home and continues to reassure her that he loves her.
The next night, he comes to pick her up for the dance, and he brings her a bracelet as a gift. The gala is being held at the Superior Shores Resort, and Levi gives the keynote address. Levi also gives Daunis her birthday gift, but it’s a choker that their dad wore, not the scarf because he couldn’t find it.
Over dinner, Macy Manitou, daughter of Chief Manitou, snarkily tells Daunis that she only got into the tribe by one vote. Daunis is also introduced as Jamie’s date, and Daunis privately gives Jamie an Indian name, “Ojiishiingwe” (meaning “He has a scar on his face.”) When she sees TJ dancing with Olivia Huang, Daunis is surprised to find she no longer feels the same pang she did before when she sees him.
Then, Ron gets Daunis’s attention, demanding to know what is going on with her and Jamie, having seen them on the dance floor. When Daunis defends their relationship and insists they can continue with the investigation, Ron disagrees, saying they’ve compromised it. He tells Daunis that “Jamie Johnson” is not a real person. Instead, he’s a rookie cop who messed up his last assignment, which is why he got his scar. Now, he’s desperate to redeem himself, even if it means using her. Ron also tells her that it was Jamie’s idea for him to get close to Daunis in the first place.
Then, TJ tries to talk to her, saying that Jamie is no good. TJ says that if he’s becoming “bed buds” with Levi, she should know that he’s bad news. He finally tells Daunis that he broke up with her because Levi and his friends started threatening him after they began sleeping together.
Finally, to cap off the night, Grant Edwards reveals to Daunis that he has security footage of her snooping around in his home office.
Chapters 41 – 42
Grant tells Daunis to come with him. He takes her up to a random hotel room, and she expects him to demand an explanation. Instead, he tell her that “you hockey girls are my weakness”, and he rapes her.
When it’s over, Daunis fixes her hair and returns to the ballroom. It occurs to her that he likely assaulted Robin as well. When the dance finishes, she declines to attend the afterparty. Instead, she tells Jamie she wants to talk in the parking lot. She begins by demanding to know his real name. When he refuses, the conversation escalates until Daunis punches him. Ron spots them and stops it, telling Jamie that he’s being removed from the case.
That night, Daunis remembers another piece of what Travis said that night. He said that Levi was the one who shot the BB gun and that Levi asked him to take the blame for it. The next morning, Daunis sees that Levi has left a framed photo of him, her and their dad together on her bed. Still, she wonders if the things people are saying about him are true.
Then, Daunis sees that she’s been e-mailed the newest bank statement. Her heart drops when she sees that Levi received 20K and then wired it to an account in Panama, meaning he’s likely the drug mule.
Daunis goes to Levi’s mother’s house, knowing it will be empty. She breaks into Levi’s room and goes through his things. She finds the bank statements for their account which show that he’s been making 10K-20K deposits to that same Panama account for many months now, beginning in October 2003. Daunis tries to think about what would have changed then. Then, she realizes that Levi (who is a few months younger than her) was a minor at that point and likely couldn’t authorize wire transfers then. Instead, Daunis was the one who turned 18 in October 2003. It dawns on her that Levi might be making the transfers in her name.
Chapters 43 – 44
As Daunis reels from the information, she hears that Dana is home, and Dana knows something is wrong since he dog Waylon keeps barking. Daunis is also surprised to see the scarf that Levi claimed not to be able to find sitting in his room. As Dana tries to get into the room, Daunis flees.
Back at home, Daunis retches, feeling empty and sad. Her mother runs her a bath, but also mentions that Levi had dropped off two boxes in Daunis’s room. Daunis knows one contained the framed photo, but goes back to look for the other. She finally sees a box hidden away, full of non-regulation weight hockey pucks.
Daunis remembers that she’s seen these defective pucks before. They have dream catchers printed on them and were donated by Grant Edwards for the Tribal Youth Program. Then she realizes what’s going on and opens one up to find cheap, poorly made meth inside. More urgently, she wonders why Levi would have left this hidden in her bedroom.
In her head, she tries to put the pieces together. She’s established that meth-X likely does not induce group hallucinations. Instead, she wonders why Uncle David stored that notebook in a place only she could find, leaving the FBI still trying to track down a hallucinogenic mushroom variety that doesn’t exist. She thinks about how David had planned to talk to Angie Flint. She wonders how Grant is involved, what part Levi played, and whether Levi is trying to set her up.
Then, she hears a knock at the front door. It’s Dana, who is upset and fears that Levi is in trouble. Daunis also gets a text from Ron asking about Jamie’s whereabouts.
Daunis and Dana prepare some tea. As they drink, Danatells her that she thinks Levi is mixed up in some bad stuff. Travis was making meth, and she thought Levi was visiting him to talk him out of it, but at some point he started acting as a mule. As she talks, Daunis feels herself losing focus and getting woozy (presumably Dana slipped something in her tea). Finally, she collapses onto the floor and realizes that the mother that Uncle David went to see wasn’t Angie Flint, but rather Light Bulb’s mom was Dana.
Part 3: Ningaabii’an (“West”)
Chapters 45 – 48
Daunis awakens to find herself kidnapped and in a trailer along with Jamie. Her leg is shackled to the bed frame. Jamie says Levi and Mike tasered and brought him here the night before. Jamie has a watch with a satellite tracking device that Ron can track, but they realize they’re in an area without cell or satellite reception.
Mike and Levi arrive. Levi tells Daunis that he wanted her to get in on this. He explains how they came up with the idea. Angie Flint first got hooked and was selling meth here for a guy in Las Vegas. When they guy got out of the picture, Travis started cooking it himself. They Levi and Mike stepped in to help scale things up. However, Travis started using a lot and getting very experimental.
As they talk, Daunis can tell that between Mike and Levi, Mike is the brains of the operation. Mike also hints that he knows what his dad did to her. He threatens to hurt Jamie if Daunis doesn’t agree to cook meth for them.
After the guys leave to let Daunis think about what she wants to do (join them or not), Jamie tells Daunis that the plan should be for Daunis to take the watch, leave with the guys and then turn on the satellite watch so Ron can find her. Daunis finally tells Jamie what happened with Grant, and Jamie reassures her that Ron will take care of Grant Edwards once they get in touch with him.
Daunis then tells Jamie that she loves him and also that she thinks Levi is the weakest link. When the guys return, Daunis agrees to Mike’s plan. She also knows that she needs to separate Levi and Mike so she can talk to Levi separately. They escort Daunis out and leave Jamie shackled in the trailer.
Chapters 49 – 50
On the way to their meth setup, Levi drives Daunis. Levi tells Daunis the truth about what happened to Uncle David, that Mike tried to get him hooked on meth so he’d want to help them cook better stuff. Levi wasn’t there, but Mike thinks David OD’ed on purpose to get out of it. Levi also says that the hockey pucks in her room were just an insurance policy that Nike wanted, but Levi insists he would never have let them use it.
Daunis points out that Levi doesn’t even need the money because he gets per-cap money. But he says that his mom says there’s no saying how long the casino venture will last. They don’t want to end up dependent on the tribe if it all implodes. Levi also admits that he kept the scarf from Daunis because of his mother. Also, he tells Daunis about how Dana had gotten Macy’s dad to get their dad drunk in order to sleep with him.
Levi tries to convince Daunis that they’d be unstoppable together, but Daunis says she knows that Travis took the fall for the BB gun thing. She implies that it’s not okay that everyone just lets him get away with stuff.
As they ride the ferry from Sugar Island, Daunis sees one of the Elders, Seeney Nimkee, in the car next to her. As they reach the other side, the car in front of them doesn’t move. Instead, Daunis sees Seeney mouth the words “get out” to her.
With that, Daunis jumps out of Levi’s car into the backseat of Seeney’s car. Seeney’s car then reverses and jolts forward to make an escape. When the other cars still don’t move, preventing Levi from following them, Daunis realizes she recognizes two of the other cars. These three Elders must have helped to coordinate a rescue plan.
When Seeney gets out of her car, Daunis watches in horror as he runs into her to create a diversion and drives off.
As Levi tries to get away, Daunis sees Coach Bobby pull up in the parking lot next to her. She asks him to follow Levi, and he readily agrees. Then, when Coach Bobby won’t let Daunis use his cell phone, she realizes what’s going on. Coach Bobby is a gambler with a string of failed business ideas, and the meth enterprise was one that has actually worked.
Chapters 51 – 52
In the car, Coach Bobby tells Daunis that Jamie’s dead either way, but if she cooperates, then her mom will stay alive. Then, Daunis hears the sound of sirens. She grabs the steering wheel and causes them to hit a tree. When she regains consciousness, she sees that Levi is on the ground injured and TJ’s gun is on Coach Bobby. Levi tries to convince TJ that the coach forced them into the meth ring and that he was helping Daunis escape, but Daunis denies that story.
Daunis then rushes back to the ferry, wanting to get back to Jamie. She’s injured so Ron drives them both towards where she thinks the trailer. She enters the trailer just in time to see Stormy bring an axe down on Jamie’s ankle, but then realizes that Stormy was cutting off the shackles.
Daunis feels grateful for her community for helping to save her and is glad that Jamie is okay. Teddy shows up as well and comforts her. However, Daunis has been ignoring her many injuries, and suddenly she feels something heavy in her chest and she she can’t breathe. Soon after, she dies.
Part 4: Kewaadin (“North”)
Chapters 53 – 54
Daunis finds herself near a campfire in the woods. She sees Lily, who gives her a kiss on the cheek before the world fades away. Then, she hears the sound of her mother beckoning her back into the world.
Daunis reawakes three days later in a hospital bed. She’s stabilized and though the ended up with a torn liver (which caused her to go into hypovolemic shock), it will recover. Now that the ordeal is over, Daunis also decides its time to stop keeping things from her mother. She’s also finally able to tell her mom that Uncle David didn’t fall off the wagon, and instead his death wasn’t his fault. GrandMary passed away and is being cremated.
Ron comes to see them and explains the charges against Levi. He also says that there’s some evidence that he may be linked to Heather’s disappearance, but they’re not sure if that was planted by Mike. Mike is missing, and it’s still not clear whether Grant Edwards was involved or not. Ron says that as a minor, Stormy has some protection and it’s not clear if he was involved. Either way, he’ll likely be forced to testify when he turns 18 soon.
Coach Bobby has been charged, as has Dana. Dana was a Tribal Judge, so the court cases that she presided over are being audited as well, since there’s indications that she may have helped to protect Levi and hurt their competition when possible.
Daunis also learns that the federal government is not planning on pursing charges for her kidnapping or rape, because she is now a tribal member and the crimes took place on tribal lands. Daunis surmises that Grant must’ve been emboldened to rape her, knowing that even if caught he’d likely never have to answer for it.
After Ron leaves, Daunis turns to Teddy and says “Blanket party, you’ll bring me.”
Chapters 55 – 56
Daunis has a dream where she has a son who looks a little like Jamie and who reminds her of her Grandpa Lorenzo.
Twelve days after the kidnapping was resolved, Jamie comes to see her, having been wrapped up in the investigation before. Daunis tells Jamie that he’s not cut out for undercover work. While Ron is able to keep things separate, Jamie is not. She also tells him that he needs to go find out where he’s from since it’s clearly something that haunts him.
Jamie tells Daunis that he needs her and still wants to be with her, but Daunis senses that Jamie needs to figure out what is missing in his life first. She also thinks it’s a journey he needs to go on alone, since she worries that his needs will overwhelm hers. She says she loves him, even if she doesn’t know if she’ll be in his life in the future.
After he leaves, Daunis thinks about how she never found out his last name.
Chapter 57 (Ten Months Later)
Ten months later, in the third week of August, there is the annual tribal powwow. Recently, the tribe passed a banishment referendum, which would allow any tribal member convicted of a felony drug crime to face possible banishment, up to five years. It would include the loss of per-cap payments and is meant to target drug dealers.
On Friday, there is a ceremony for women who have been hurt by men involving yellow pansies to help them acknowledge and release their trauma. Daunis joins the group of over a hundred women that year and Granny June says that Lily was grateful each year that she didn’t see Daunis in this group. Daunis had no idea Lily had that experience. Granny says Lilly started coming, right around the time she moved in with her.
Levi remains in jail until his trial. Stormy still has not said anything, declining to speak in front of a Grand Jury, so he is in jail ad being held in contempt of court. Mike’s still missing, his parents are divorced, and there’s rumors he changed his name. Coach Bobby accepted a plea deal and is to be the star witness for the prosecution, a fact that gives Daunis nightmares.
Daunis’s plans have changed. She plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, to study ethnobotany (“the study of how people all over the world use plants as medicines”). In the summers, she plans to intern with Seeney Nimkee in the Traditional Medicine Program. Her goal is to practice tradition medicine.
Yesterday, Daunis received an unsigned postcard depicting the University of Wisconsin Law School with the message “Someday” written on it (indicating it’s from Jamie).
The boko concludes with Daunis dancing the Jingle Dance, which represents healing, at the powwow.