Just finished reading this for the second time. It really gets into the mind of Sam Indian Horse and how he felt treated by the "whites". Since I have 3 family members who have played hockey, I enjoyed the description of the games he played, how he felt on the ice and the team spirit he enjoyed. Great book for boys ages 12 and up especially if they are interested in hockey and can get past the first 10 very short chapters.
Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese is a beautiful, captivating story of a broken Ojibway man, Saul Indian Horse. He faces the atrocities he endured at residential school as well as the racism and abuse he experienced as he tried to build a life in Northern Ontario in the 1960s. The story starts as Saul has entered an alcohol treatment centre as a grown man and is forced to face his past in order to move forward.
The portrayal of the sexual, cultural and physical abuse the Canadian residential school system inflicted on Saul is hard to read but with it comes understanding. Through the heartbreaking story, starting with Saul’s early life with his family living a traditional life in the Northern Ontario bush until being captured and taken to residential school, Saul perseveres and finds hope when he is introduced to hockey and discovers his passion and exceptional talent.
This 2013 Canada Reads nominee story is an important story about courage and healing and I would highly recommend this book to anyone from teens onward. (Submitted by Michelle).
I was moved to read this book by comments on the contents, and I was well rewarded. Mr. Wagamese does, truly, write exquisitely. He brings to life the story of particular and generational abuse perpetrated by staff of the schools on native children who were forced to attend in white hopes of destroying the children's "inherent evil" and turning them into proper servants for the white society that took for their own personal use everything the Indians had had for millennia .
The story unfolds gradually, and one is taken into the story viscerally by the extreme care Mr. Wagamese takes to make everything real without being sordid. The recent disclosure of the Catholic church clergy's generational abuse of children in Pennsylvania and its tacit acceptance and cover up by the structure of the church bring fresh power to this story of Saul Indian Horse and his redemptive journey. It brought tears and a sense of renewal of the spirit to me.
Great little book, an emotional story and so interesting. It was a sad story overall but, juxtaposed against the happiness of the teenagers loving and playing hockey, it did not seem a sad story at all. Very easy reading, simply written and powerful.
Richard Wagamese writes exquisitely about
a life bereft of tenderness and caring.
A survivor of residential schools-
a target of prejudice on the ice and on the job-
The protagonist soars and stumbles through it all.
Reading this, you can hear a pin drop.
This place the history and context of the residential school into focus.
Strong and beautiful writing.
A beautiful, sad, and heartbreaking story. About hockey's history in residential school systems and a child forcibly taken from his home and family in Northern Ontario. A story that all Canadians from the age of 12yrs up should read. Beautifully written by Wagamese who called himself a second-generation survivor of the government-sponsored school's, attended by his parents and extended family members.
Ordinary writing, unlikable protagonist, dull story, better suited to young adults.
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.
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.
This touching story is written by Richard Wagamese and is slightly based on the struggles of his grandfather who lived in an Indigenous residential school. The effects of the school can be seen up to the present day in the life of Richard, however, the book tells a story that not everyone may expect. I appreciate that the book was very easy to read but didn’t feel like something of lower value. Richard is an incredible storyteller and does a great job at addressing serious issues that Indigenous people have faced and continue to face. I would rate this book 4.5/5 stars and recommend it to those seeking to learn more about Canadian history and Indigenous culture. @The_Reviewer of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
The Indian horse novel was nicely written and had a collection of information about residential schools. The author, Richard Wagamese has brought out a great message about Indians in residential schools. I very much enjoyed reading this book, it was very heartwarming and how the characters had great personalities. One part of the book I enjoyed and was interested in was when the main character, Saul Indian Horse, joined the team “Moose” and played in many tournaments. I felt so happy for him because he has always wanted to be on a hockey team and the NHL team. Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse brings me 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. This book is a very powerful and heartbreaking story that offers a tragic glimpse into one of the darkest times in Canadian history. Overall, Indian Horse represents the collective suffering of indigenous people in Canada and their attempts to move on in life.
Richard Wagamese was a success in writing this book to show what the kids in residential schools had to face. The author had stated that children would commit suicide, get hurt, or even die because of what things they had to do at the schools. A few of the kids would commit suicide because of depression like when they would get raped or when they were punished for speaking their own language.
- @YoumnaLovesBooks 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
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.
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.
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.
A wonderful choice for a book club. A powerful story with a uniquely Canadian setting and told by a master storyteller. Highly recommended.
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".
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.
This in an amazing read, pulls you in right from the fist page. But it does come with a warning - prepare to cry.
I enjoyed reading this book; the author provides a gripping and intense fictional account of this dark chapter in Canadian history. I found the writing about addiction particularly good and quite interesting. The parts about hockey were a little lost on me, as I am not a hockey fan. I would recommend this to others.
Really so good - quick to read, very engaging, pulls you through and breaks your heart - then puts it back together again. Highly recommend.
What an excellent book, I couldn't put it down. I was swept up in his writing, completely absorbed in each of his sentences. So much to think about now - will get more of his books. Thank you, Richard.
WOW! What a beautifully written book. Thank you Canada Reads!
And, thank goodness our fabulous Whatcom County Library System (South Whatcom) had this book front and center as a Hot Picks.
After being in a book club for 8 years, I can honestly say this is the best book we have read so far.