Kiss of the Fur Queen

Kiss of the Fur Queen

Book - 1998
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In the 1950s, Abraham Okimasis becomes the first Indian ever to win the Trapper's Festival Dog Sled Race and, as tradition dictates, he is kissed by the festival's beautiful Fur Queen. Nine months afterward, Abraham's wife Mariesis gives birth to their son, Champion, in a tent on a trapline in snowy northern Manitoba. Later, three-year-old Champion watches his brother Ooneemeetoo come into the world in the same tent.
The boys grow up in a magical Cree Garden of Eden: stars, fish and caribou are their playmates; canoes and dogsleds transport their nomadic family. Joy and raucous laughter roll across the tundra with them. No English is spoken, no white people cross their path. And everywhere they go, the boys are accompanied by a photo of their father being kissed by the Fur Queen, their guardian angel.
At the age of six, Champion is hauled into a plane and whisked to a boarding school three hundred miles south, where he enters a Hell on Earth. His name becomes Jeremiah, and his language is forbidden. His brother later joins him at the school, where the two boys are abused by priests. As young men, they suffer the humiliation of racism on the streets of Winnipeg.
Wherever the brothers go, the Fur Queen -- a wily, shape-shifting trickster -- looks after them protectively. For Jeremiah and Gabriel (as Ooneemeetoo is now called) are destined to be artists. Through music and dance, the Okimasis brothers flourish in the world. Until tragedy sneaks up on them.
Kiss of the Fur Queen fuses Native story-telling techniques with European narrative form to create an engaging, funny, passionate, and triumphant novel of a uniquely Canadian experience: that of being a stranger in yourown land.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c1998
ISBN: 9780385256520
0385256523
Branch Call Number: FIC/HIG 4565fi 1

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m
mclarjh
Jun 11, 2017

Entertaining tragicomedy.

brianreynolds Jul 28, 2014

Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen doesn’t break a sweat in its attempt to tell the tragic-comic story of two brothers caught in their transition from an isolated reserve to international prominence as concert pianist and ballet dancer. In the hands of a gifted artist, however, the story blossoms into a poignant plea for justice, a poem of remorse for a lost way of life, a warm and visceral chuckle at who we all are or pretend to be, and (not the least by far) a palpable sound and vision of places most of us will never get to see, never be privileged to endure except in print. Tapwee

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When Abraham Okimasis wins a major dog-sled race in the 1950s, part of his prize is a kiss from the young white winner of a local beauty pageant. This touch of white culture indelibly marks the lives of his sons, Jeremiah and Gabriel, who are taken from their family to be raised in a residential school far away.

EPLPicks_Teen Mar 24, 2010

When Abraham Okimasis wins a major dog-sled race in the 1950s, part of his prize is a kiss from the young white winner of a local beauty pageant. This touch of white culture indelibly marks the lives of his sons, Jeremiah and Gabriel, who are taken from their family to be raised in a residential school far away.

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