Summary Of Saul Indian Horse By Richard Wagamese

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Canadian author Richard Wagamese writes the fictional odyssey of a young Ojibwa man, Saul Indian Horse. Throughout his time at St. Jerome’s residential school, our protagonist shares by means of written word his experiences in the schools, life after with Residential School Syndrome and the journey toward healing. “This novel appears just as Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission studying the impact of residential schools is releasing its interim report. Wagamese bleakly corroborates this catalogue of horror.” Found in the arms of his dead grandmother, along what is assumed to be the CN Railway in Northern Ontario, young Saul is taken to a fictional residential school, in the fictional town of Whitewater, Ontario. Not …show more content…

Young children were often abducted, ripped away from the familiarity of traditional life, Wagamese represents this with two personal abductions for the protagonist . Nearly 150,000 children were forced to attend an Indian Residential School over a period of approximately one-hundred and thirty years. “Starting in 1879, the Canadian government systematically separated Aboriginal children from their families, placing them into residential schools in order to assimilate them into colonial culture.” This was an all too real reality for the Native American population of Canada. Culture, care, and love were ruthlessly stripped from these children. The traditional way of life had a presence in the common Northern Ontarian family. Elders recall nature as the first thing they saw when their eyes were opened. Others recall songs being sung to them, no alcohol, or harsh discipline. “You know, like in the bush, is really good… We went as a family together.” Mabel Brown of the Northwest …show more content…

Common among families that had received word they must send their children to school or face fines, jail time and resource suspension. Priests who spoke the language would pay visits to families in order to influence the children into attending school. Once the priests had achieved their notorious goal, they put the children on busses, and shipped them out to the schools. Speaking in their native tongue often caught the attention and trust of the child, resulting in a more open reception to the idea of school. Punishment was inflicted “the moment a child took the first steps across the school’s threshold.” The common belief that long hair enhanced spiritual gifts was destroyed with a welcome hair-cut. Heavy, scratchy uniforms were distributed, language restrictions, and Catholic faith strictly enforced. Limited social interaction was common, as was boy, girl, sibling, cousin segregation; even parents were even restricted, and supervised during visits with their children. “Both sexes were put to work.” Wagamese recounts what the protagonists experienced: “ The girls were kept busy in the kitchen, where they baked bread to be sold in town, or in the sewing rooms, where they made our clothing… The boys mucked out the stalls of the cows and horses, hoed the fields, harvested the vegetables or worked in the carpentry

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