At the beginning of this haunting and masterful novel from the late Wagamese ( –), eight-year-old Saul Indian Horse is alone, having. Saul Indian Horse is in critical condition. Sitting feeble in an alcoholism treatment facility, he is told that sharing his story will help relieve his agony. Though. Indian Horse, a severe yet beautiful novel by Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese, concerns Saul Indian Horse, a former hockey star undergoing.

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And this paragraph seems to sum up the residential school situation: To be fair you have to give me that!

Indian Horse

We had not yet stepped beyond the influence of our legends. Beautifully written book, haunting and rewarding. Reading this was incredibly heartbreaking because of the truths that were revealed, but felt incredibly important because I hadn’t heard them before.

Perhaps I learned like all Canadians have, or should have by now, through newspaper articles and newsreel bits about this atrocity or that meted out by this now old priest or that one.

It illustrates the cruel imposition of a residential school system that sought to destroy culture and regularly rihcard various forms of abuse to attain whatever goals its administrators desired. The rocks lay lodged like hymns in the breast of it, and the trees bent upward in praise like crooked fingers.

Honouring Richard Wagamese

But it all goes terribly wrong, because as Saul gets better and better and progresses through the ranks of hockey, so too does he get deeper and deeper into that outside racist world. The sto ry is one of loss and fear, but also one of hope and resilience.

Wagamese, an Ojibway like Saul from the same region, is a superb writer — especially fine at capturing the brooding landscape of northern Ontario and the flavour of its small resource-based towns.

Like Saul in the book, I took solace in the parts where he speaks almost transcendentally about hockey and his love for wagamees sport.

The thrill of it lifts people out of their seats. Mar 10, Pam rated it liked it.

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

We meet Saul Indian Horse as a young adult in an alcohol treatment program being tasked to write his story as part of his therapy. Anyway in one way Saul is fortunate, he discovers and is good story hockey.


Although surely these hotse women would have had something to say. They can see yorse world for what it is and where it is going and warn us and guide us. Wagamese tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, from happy Ojibway boy in Canada’s bush, to bitter urban man who is flotsam in the wreckage created by white oppression, residential school brutality and hypocritical Canadian society.

He was a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of twelve titles from major Ibdian publishers. I remember wanting to help. Reading Indian HorseI was similarly inrian and disturbed, but had to accept that Richard Wagamese was trying to tell a story with truth at its core; that this horrendous experience could have happened to Saul Little Horse.

I wanted to love this more than I did. As the menace reveals itself to be irrepressible, Saul eventually experiences complete collapse and descent into transience, addiction and episodic violence before finding the resource to remember his grim past, recollect the fragments, and move intentionally toward recovery and healing. If I was one ricbard face among a few or many, I wanted the story tellers to wagames that someone was listening, that their stories were gorse heard.

So I didn’t go. This book deals with one of these excluded histories, the very true history of residential schools in Canada. Preview — Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. The year is It recounts the courageous effort of the human will to overcome adversity.

Despite this, Saul finds salvation in the unlik eliest of places and the most favourite of Canadian pastimes — hockey. It was both heart warming and heartbreaking to witness their love. There he comes under the tutelage of Keeper, and together they explore legend, ceremony, ritual and philosophy, laughing, joking hkrse praying their way towards a homecoming of the spirit and a celebration of identity. The writing is clean and simple, it reads very quickly, and tells a tale both heartbreaking and uplifting.

He tries to navigate a place for himself within the game, but when his attempts are rebuffed with racial slurs and physical attacks, he retaliates with violence and is ejected from the game. While I am romanced by Saul’s talk of his people’s history: Franklin Starlight has never really known his biological father, Eldon.


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Richard Wagamese was one of Canada’s foremost Native authors and storytellers. It is incredible to think that the same misguided motivations prompted the Residential Schools in Canada, at the same time that slavery was being abolished south of the border.

After all, Saul is, as the story begins, in a treatment centre for alcoholics. This book has been made into a movie, which I watched last night, right on hodse heels of reading the book. It also served as an excellent vehicle to explore the racism that the First Nations People experienced and still do. This is simply an excellent, fundamentally Canadian novel, beautifully and sparingly written, with grace, poise, banked passion and heartbreaking insight.

I love this quote from grandmother: Aug 26, Mj rated it really liked it Shelves: April 7, I finished reading this book on April 4th, 3 days ago, and have struggled to put my thoughts down here since then. Saul becomes so good that he’s called up to the minor leagues, but the taunting and racist attacks only get worse, and the game he loves no longer feels the same.

There’s a lo Richzrd was a really beautiful and powerfully written book about the history of residential schools in Canada and the inter-generational trauma they’ve caused. This story takes place in the sixties and represents another time those in charge.

You will root for him to find his way home. Like Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road, or Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian, Indian Horse in it’s own unique voice is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the depth and resilience of Indigenous spiritual culture and Aboriginal agony in our day.