I almost couldn’t bear to read parts of this book. In Indian Horse author Richard Wagamese describes life in St. Jerome’s Indian residential school in Ontario with such descriptive prose that you are forced to put the book down at points to compose yourself and just breathe. If that’s how I felt reading about it, what must it have been like for the children actually experiencing it?
The hockey team at the residential school is in some ways the salvation of Saul Indian Horse the character at the centre of the novel but in other ways it leads to the crushing of his soul and spirit.
The book reminded me of an exhibit I saw at the Heard Museum in Phoenix- Remembering our Residential School Days and also of another book I read recently Bear Town where hockey becomes both a means of salvation and a destructive force in a small community.
I bought this book for the Indigenous Relations section of our church library but wanted to read it myself first. I will highly recommend it to our library users. It makes me ashamed of what was done in the name of my religion. It makes me incredibly sad children had to experience such suffering. It makes me realize it may not be possible to ever right this wrong.