Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Indian Horse

Douglas & McIntyre 2012. 224 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9781553654025 (paperback)
9781553659709 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, point of view, stance

Awards

Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature – 2013
First Nation Communities Read – 2014
Turtle Island Reads – 2016

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“If we want to live at peace with ourselves, we need to tell our stories.” Rich language conveys this eventful story of a one Anishinabeg (Ojibway) child’s forced march toward ‘Indian’ manhood via residential schooling—and his own healing road back to his people.

Through the perspective of Saul Indian Horse, the novel offers piercing insights into indigenous culture, colonial oppression and a racist society. It also ripples with excitement, empowerment and community, as Saul learns and excels at the game of hockey: “the older boys skated to the boards and leaned there … as I drew near they made a spot for me among them. We stood there like stallions home from the range.”

Whether depicting horrors, triumphs or moments in everyday life, the writing is consummate. Powerful and elegant language speeds through the plot, as if on the end of an expert wrist shot. Dialogue is punchy and tight: “‘A bag of antlers,’ was how Ervin Ear described me. ‘But fast.’”

This important book illuminates dark corners of Canadian society, inciting empathy and engagement, and calling for awareness: “I couldn’t run the risk of someone knowing me, because I couldn’t take the risk of knowing myself.”

  •  

    The narrative stream is told as a series of scenes as they are experienced by Saul, the young protagonist. The chapters can be read and discussed in order to explore elements of storytelling and author’s craft.

  •  

    In small discussion groups, discuss the impact the text has on you. What was surprising? What changed, challenged or confirmed your thinking?

  •  

    Following reading and discussion, select important sections of the text and use the response process to write a series of responses to them.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences