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Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves duology tells the regrettable, familiar story of the abuse and exploitation of Native Peoples by White colonialists, yet Dimaline adds a new twist—one of environmental disaster and fighting back.
In The Marrow Thieves (2017), Dimaline introduces readers to Frenchie, who lives in a futuristic world where pollution, plagues, and natural disasters are rampant. Global warming has ravaged the earth and taken away people’s ability to dream. Only North America’s Indigenous Peoples can still dream. Their marrow can cure others, but the catch is that the Native People cannot share their marrow without dying. Not surprisingly, White folks decide to capture Native Peoples and harvest marrow from them unwillingly, reopening residential boarding schools to become bone-marrow factories.
This is the horrific reality for Frenchie, the main character of the novel. Frenchie is living in the wild, fleeing from recruiters who want to take him to the marrow stealing factories. Frenchie is alone since the recruiters caught up with he and his brother, capturing his brother. Frenchie is sure that his brother has been killed, so he hides and runs. On the run, Frenchie meets a group of other First Nation dreamers, and they band together to survive this dystopian world.