Braiding Stories, Braiding Kinship
How Cree Storytelling Restores Relationships in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen
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 As I will demonstrate, an unpublished Highway play sheds new light on the significance of Jeremiah’s plays and the novel’s ending. My discussion of the unpublished play manuscript gives readers a more complete idea of the vision that Highway had when he created Kiss of the Fur Queen—and shows how central the role of Cree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.