Kiss of the Fur Queen
Born into a magical Cree world in snowy northern Manitoba, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are all too soon torn from their family and thrust into the hostile world of a Catholic residential school. Their language is forbidden, their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and both boys are abused by priests.
As young men, estranged from their own people and alienated from the culture imposed upon them, the Okimasis brothers fight to survive. Wherever they go, the Fur Queen — a wily, shape-shifting trickster — watches over them with a protective eye. For Jeremiah and Gabriel are destined to be artists. Through music and dance they soar. (From Anchor Canada)
From the book
"The Trickster, of course," Gabriel finally answered himself, "Weesageechak for sure. The clown who bridges humanity and God — a God who laughs, a God who's here, not for guilt, not for suffering, but for a good time. Except this time, the Trickster representing God as a woman, a goddess in fur. Like in this picture. I've always thought that, ever since we were little kids. I mean, if Native languages have no gender, then why should we? And why, for that matter, should God?"
From Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway ©1999. Published by Anchor Canada.