Indian Horse: How to Read Richard Wagamese's Award-Winning Novel in PDF Format
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese: A Powerful Novel About Indigenous Identity and Resilience
If you are looking for a novel that will move you, challenge you, and inspire you, look no further than Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. This award-winning novel tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway man who survives the horrors of residential school, becomes a hockey star, and battles alcoholism. Through his journey, we learn about the history and culture of Indigenous people in Canada, as well as their struggles and resilience in the face of colonialism, racism, and trauma. In this article, we will give you an overview of the plot, themes, reception, and legacy of Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this novel and provide you with a link to download it in pdf format.
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The Plot of Indian Horse
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese is divided into four parts, each corresponding to a stage in Saul's life.
Saul's childhood and family background
The novel begins with Saul telling us that he is in a treatment centre for alcoholics, and that he has decided to write his story as a way of healing. He then takes us back to his childhood in northern Ontario, where he lived with his parents, grandmother, and older brother Benjamin on their ancestral land. Saul's family belonged to the Fish Clan, one of the eight clans of the Ojibway people. They followed their traditional way of life, hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering on their territory. They also practiced their spirituality, which involved honoring the spirits of their ancestors, animals, plants, and elements.
Saul's family was one of the few who resisted going to residential school, a system of boarding schools run by the government and churches that aimed to assimilate Indigenous children into mainstream Canadian society. Residential schools were notorious for abusing, neglecting, and eradicating the culture, language, and identity of Indigenous children. Many children died or disappeared in these schools, while others suffered lifelong physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual damage.
Saul's parents had been to residential school and had escaped, but they were haunted by their memories and the loss of their culture. They tried to protect their children from the same fate, but they were constantly pursued by the authorities who wanted to take them away. When Saul was four years old, his brother Benjamin was taken by the police and never returned. Saul's parents became depressed and addicted to alcohol, and eventually left Saul and his grandmother alone.
Saul's experience at residential school and the trauma he suffers
When Saul was eight years old, his grandmother decided to take him to God's Lake, a sacred place where their ancestors had lived. On their way, they encountered a group of white men who offered them a ride on their boat. Saul's grandmother accepted, thinking they were friendly, but they turned out to be agents of the residential school. They kidnapped Saul and took him to St. Jerome's Indian Residential School, where he was separated from his grandmother and never saw her again.
At St. Jerome's, Saul endured unimaginable abuse and violence. He was stripped of his name, clothes, hair, and belongings. He was forced to speak English and learn Christian doctrines. He was beaten, starved, humiliated, and molested by the priests and nuns who ran the school. He also witnessed the death and suffering of many other children, some of whom were his relatives and friends.
Saul's only escape from the horror of residential school was hockey. He discovered the game when he saw the priests playing it on a frozen pond. He was fascinated by the speed, grace, and skill of the players, and he felt a connection to the ice and the puck. He secretly taught himself how to skate and play hockey by using frozen horse turds as pucks and catalogues as skates. He also befriended Father Leboutilier, a young priest who was kind to him and encouraged his interest in hockey.
Saul's discovery of hockey and his talent for the game
When Saul was ten years old, Father Leboutilier invited him to join the school's hockey team, which competed against other schools and towns. Saul quickly proved himself to be a natural and gifted player, who could score goals with ease and grace. He also developed a sixth sense for the game, which he called "the magic", that allowed him to anticipate the moves of his opponents and teammates. Saul loved hockey more than anything else in his life, and he saw it as a way of reclaiming his joy, pride, and identity.
Saul's talent for hockey also earned him the respect and admiration of his peers and teachers, as well as the opportunity to leave residential school. When he was fifteen years old, he was scouted by Fred Kelly, a former NHL player who coached a Native hockey team called the Moose. Fred offered Saul a chance to play for his team and live with his family in Manitouwadge, a mining town in northern Ontario. Saul accepted, hoping to find a new home and a new future.
Saul's rise and fall as a hockey player in a racist society
Playing for the Moose was a dream come true for Saul. He enjoyed being part of a team that celebrated their Indigenous heritage and culture. He also formed a close bond with Fred and his family, who treated him like a son. He excelled on the ice, scoring goals and winning games for his team. He also attracted the attention of scouts from bigger leagues, who saw him as a potential star.
However, Saul also faced racism and discrimination from the white society that surrounded him. He was taunted, insulted, threatened, and attacked by opposing players, fans, referees, and coaches who resented his skill and success. He was also isolated and alienated from his own people, who accused him of being assimilated or sellout. He felt like he didn't belong anywhere, and he started to lose his passion for hockey.
Saul's downfall came when he was invited to try out for the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most prestigious teams in the NHL. He saw this as an opportunity to prove himself to the world and to honor his people. However, he soon realized that he was not welcome or respected by the white-dominated hockey establishment. He was subjected to brutal physical abuse and psychological warfare by his rivals and teammates alike. He also learned that Father Leboutilier had sexually abused him when he was at residential school, which shattered his trust and confidence.
Saul could not cope with the pressure and pain that hockey brought him anymore. He quit the game at the age of eighteen, feeling betrayed, broken, and lost.
Saul's struggle with alcoholism and his recovery journey
After leaving hockey, Saul drifted from place to place, working odd jobs and drinking heavily. 71b2f0854b