Braiding Stories, Braiding Kinship

How Cree Storytelling Restores Relationships in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen


  • Melanie Braith University of Winnipeg


This article argues that Cree author Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen celebrates Cree storytelling as a way to restore kinship relations that have been impacted by residential schools. In doing so, Highway’s 1998 novel re-thinks what it means to tell one’s life story and envisions a form of Cree residential school testimony. This article focuses on a part of the novel that has received surprisingly scant attention from scholars: the plays that protagonist Jeremiah creates toward the end of the novel. As I will demonstrate, an unpublished Highway play sheds new light on the significance of Jeremiah’s plays and the novel’s ending. My discussion of the unpublished play manuscript gives readers a more complete idea of the vision that Highway had when he created Kiss of the Fur Queen—and shows how central the role of Cree storytelling truly is to his novel.