Angeline Boulley’s bestselling young adult novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter is fantastic on multiple levels. Through the eyes of Daunis Fontaine, readers learn the language and culture of the Anishinaabe people as she becomes entangled in an adventure larger than any she ever imagined. On this page you will find translations for the beautiful art by Moses Lunham which was commissioned for the novel along with audio to practice the empowering phrases he illustrated. You will also find full translations of the two prayers that represent the two sides of Daunis’ ancestry. For those who want to go the extra mile, we’ve included a list of some of the most important Ojibwe words and phrases Angeline Boulley includes in the book.
Note: Woven throughout the book as Daunis greets each day is an important cultural teaching called the Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers. This teaching is grounded in community survival and has something to offer all of us. Please remember that Anishinaabe culture is not monolithic and different communities and elders offer different interpretations of the teachings and it would likely be best for individuals to develop their own set of beliefs and behaviors. Learn more about this traditional knowledge by exploring two variations on the teaching here with our Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers page (based on interpretation by Dominic Eshkakogan and Wilma Henry) as well as our Seven Grandfather Words page (based on interpretation by Helen Roy Fuhst).
The Character Cards
To know zoongidewin is to face your fears with a strong heart.
Gigikendaan zoongidewin apii zoongide’eyan aanawi zegiziyan.
I love you. Without names or stories or anything.
Gizaagi’in. Gaawiin ginandawendanziin anoozowinan, dibaajimowinan gemaa gegoon.
Strong Ojibwe women are like the tide, reminding us of forces too powerful to control.
Anishinaabe-ikwewag mashkawiziwag dibishkoo agwaayaashkaag, mikawaaminangwaa gaawiin awiiya dibenimaasig.
Weak people fear that strength.
On page 115 Daunis and her family attend a community funeral and, although the Anishinaabe people have a complex history with Catholicism, she says the Lord’s Prayer in Ojibwe.
Miinshinaang noongom gizhigak inbakwezhiganinaan minik waayaang endaso gizhigag,
Give us today our daily bread as we are given each day,
boonigidetawishinaang gaawiin ezhi-nishkiigoosii’aan
forgive us our anger
ezhi-bonigedetawangidwaa gaa ezhi-nishkinawiyangidwaa.
as we forgive others who are angry at us.
Gego gaye ezhi-wijishikangen gagwedibeningwewining,
And don’t lead us away together and tempt our devotion,
miidash miidaawenimiyaang dash maji-inakamigag.
but give us mercy from evil.
On page 488 Daunis offers a prayer to close the circle of the narrative as the drumbeats in her own heart guide her dancing.
Boozhoo, Aaniin Gichimanidoo.
Miskwamakwakwe indizhinikaaz. Makwa indoodem. Bahweting indonjiba.
Red Bear Woman I am called. Bear is my clan. The Place of the Rapids is where I come from.
Gizhemanido naadamawishinaam ji-mashkawiziyaang
Creator help us to be strong
miinawaa naadamaw ikwewag wii-ganawendaagoziwaad,
and help the women to be safe,
the men to be well,
the elders to be happy
gaye oniijaanisag ji-inaabandamowaad Anishinaabemong.
and the children to dream in our Anishinaabe language.
Angeline Boulley uses over 100 Ojibwe words in this book as a demonstration of the way Anishinaabe language is a part of the culture. Like Louise Erdrich in The Birchbark House, she uses them in a way that makes their meaning clear to the reader. Many of the words can be found with audio in the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary. Here are a few of the most important words and phrases readers may want to practice after reading the book.
|anishinaabe minobimaadiziwin||the anishinaabe good life|
|bi-giiwen enji-zaagigooyin||come home where you are loved|
|giizhik aniibiishan||cedar tea|
|giniginige||kinnickinick (a smoking mixture)|
|ishkode-genawendan odaansinan||a fire-keeper’s daughter|
|manitou / mandioo||spirit|
|mikwendaagozi||to be remembered|
|nichiiwad||a big storm|
|zaagaaso||to shine brightly|
|zoonigidewin||strength or determination|
Learn More about Angeline Boulley
You can learn more about Angeline at her website, angelineboulley.com or visit the book website to find out how to purchase it.