Indian Horse

Indian Horse

A Novel

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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Winner of the Canada Reads People's Choice award and the First Nations Communities Reads program and short-listed for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

A Globe and Mail top 100 book of 2012

Saul Indian Horse is dying. Tucked away in a hospice high above the clash and clang of a big city, he embarks on a marvellous journey of imagination back through the life he led as a northern Ojibway, with all its sorrows and joys.

With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he's sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement.

Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man. Evaluated and Approved by ERAC

Publisher: Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, c2012
ISBN: 9781553654025
Branch Call Number: 819 .3 WAG
Characteristics: 220 p. ;,22 cm

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m
mclarjh
Jun 28, 2017

Ordinary writing, unlikable protagonist, dull story, better suited to young adults.

s
sgcf
Mar 30, 2017

There are a number of Canadian stories being published now on the theme of the residential school system and this book is a worthy contribution to the growing consciousness. It’s about the atrocities perpetrated against the native children who were stolen from their families and violated physically, emotionally, and culturally. Wagamese develops the character of Saul with compassion and high realism and, ultimately, the story becomes one about all persecution, and the damage it leaves. Wagamese offers a perceptive understanding of those who are culturally outcast.

s
SCL_AdultPicks
Jan 09, 2017

Read Jan 2017 for the library's afternoon book club and it was an overall favourite with comments like: a book to recommend, made me think, powerful, super impressed.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Dec 04, 2016

This book sheds light on the atrocities that the Aboriginals went through. It follows the story of Saul, a young Ojibwe boy, and the struggles he faces growing up. Separated from his family, Saul is taken to a residential school where he faces numerous hardships. However, he also finds that which helps him escape the reality of his situation – hockey. This book takes the reader on a journey with Saul and allows them to experience his misery as if it was their own. Indian Horse brings one of our nation’s darker moments in history to the spotlight. Although lacking in action and excitement, the books incredible depth make it a worthwhile read.
Rating: 3/5
- @JuiceboxZ of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Indian Horse is a powerful and heartbreaking story that offers a tragic glimpse into one of the darkest times in Canadian history. Saul Indian Horse is taken away from his family and sent to an Indian Residential School where Aboriginal children are stripped of their culture and language, and are assimilated to Western culture. Once at the school, Saul finds refuge in the game of hockey which he is extremely talented at. Although this story is fictional, the message and events are very real. It is crucial that everyone educates themselves on this unsettling but rather important subject.
- @reginaphalange of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse brings us face to face with the deplorable injustices that have taken place in our country. The narrative spins in northern Ontario around the life of an Ojibway man named Saul, who, one by one, reveals the horrors of the residential school system and depths of racial discrimination. The readers get a clear view of the shame and torment that people have had to bear due to their culture, language and beliefs. More importantly, the story is about how Saul struggles to overcome his negative experiences; he can either attach himself to hockey and find happiness, or lose himself in the traumatic memories of the past. Overall, Indian Horse represents the collective suffering of indigenous peoples in Canada and their attempts to move on in life. While evoking strong emotions in the reader, the beautifully written tale gives a glimpse of the country’s dark history.  5/5 Stars
- @VirtueofReading of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

pscho Jul 07, 2016

It seemed that this book was recommended to me every week or so recently. Finally borrowed it and read it and it is as powerful as recommended. Fiction can be a forceful medium for understanding and reconciliation, and this book is a prime example.

e
Eil_1
Mar 05, 2016

Wagamese is a powerful writer. This book would make an astounding movie. Sam Indian Horse takes the reader through his life - the tragedy of losing his family, the obscene Reservation schools, his escape into hockey with all the prejudice he received at the hands of the white man, and then his other escape into alcoholism. There are perhaps echoes of the author's own life in this story. The systematic destruction of the Indian language and way of life is a reflection of the misery visited upon these People by government and religious orders. Highly recommended and should be required reading for High School students.

v
vv9
Dec 27, 2015

Read more from Canada! They have some great writers, and I don't think they get due credit south of the border.
I've been reading about Native American culture, and happened onto this title. Author Wagamese is a native of the Ojibway tribe in Northern Ontario, and writes a fictional account of a boy from that tribe in the early 1900's. It presents a first person account of Indian schools, separation from family, oppression by whites, and alcohol abuse. This young boy finds escape in ice hockey (it is Canada), and the sports writing is really where the book soars. I don't know or care to know hockey, but the writing carried me through.
Recommended for Canadians, hockey lovers and students of North American Indian tribes.

BPLpicks Sep 12, 2015

A wonderful choice for a book club. A powerful story with a uniquely Canadian setting and told by a master storyteller. Highly recommended.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 06, 2015

A story of residential schools and their impact on the children extending throughout their entire lives and on their families and communities, indeed for generations. Hockey was used as a wonderful metaphor for "somewhere else".

c
coachway
Mar 29, 2015

A difficult book at times - the details of residential school life are truly horrific (without being sensationalized or over dramatized.) An important read for all Canadians - without understanding there can be no reconciliation.

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v
vickiz
Mar 12, 2017

I understood then that when you miss a thing it leaves a hole that only the thing you miss can fill.

b
becker
Feb 13, 2013

"When your innocence is stripped from you, when your people are denigrated, when the family you came from is denounced and your tribal ways and rituals are pronounced backward, primitive, savage, you come to see yourself as less than human. That is hell on earth, that sense of unworthiness. That's what they inflicted on us."

b
becker
Feb 13, 2013

"We need mystery,...Creator in her wisdon knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning."

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Aboriginals_Autochtones Jan 14, 2013

Aboriginals_Autochtones thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Aboriginals_Autochtones Jan 14, 2013

From D&M publishers: http://www.dmpibooks.com/book/indian-horse

"Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows.

With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement."

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