Richard Wagamese 's Indian Horse

989 Words Feb 26th, 2016 4 Pages
Thousands of First Nations children were kidnapped and imprisoned in residential schools during the 1960s. These children were then forced to renounce anything in relation to their traditional lives, such as their native tongue. These objectives were often achieved in a barbaric and inhumane manner. Richard Wagamese’s “Indian Horse” recounts the fictional story of Saul Indian Horse’s struggle through residential school along with the residual effects on his adult life. Within the novel, Wagamese highlights how one’s traumatic past can have tremendous physical and mental effects, especially in the absence of support. When we are first introduced to Saul’s mother, Mary, it can be easily distinguished that she had experienced a traumatic past. Not long into the novel we learn about Mary’s silent nights by the fire whispering, “The school, the school.” (Wagamese 9). The mysterious term ‘school’ is later clarified when we are told of her involvement with the residential school system. From her reaction we can determine that the residential school had traumatized her, leaving her, “So far inward she sometimes ceased to exist in the outside world.” (Wagamese 9). Later on, After Benjamin’s tragic death, Saul’s grandmother, Naomi, and Mary are arguing about how they would honour his body. While Naomi prefers the traditional First Nations way Mary says, “Those ways are gone. Those gods are dead. We need to take my son to the priest so that he can be returned to the bosom of…
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