“Once for students at the residential schools as well

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” – E.E Cummings. This quote efficiently applies to the story, Indian Horse written by Richard Wagamese, which is veritably a quest, talks about the protagonist, Saul Indian Horse, and how he conquers the discrimination, hate, bullying and supplementary conflicts. Saul Indian Horse, a member of the Fish Clan, an Indigenous Canadian tribe that lives near the Winnipeg River, is a young tribal boy who faces many different obstacles, antagonists, and conflict. Saul’s central conflict in the book Indian Horse was primarily against society. In the book, Saul has to deal with conflict from peers, to coaches, to family, and most importantly, himself. His conflict has taken place anywhere from school, on the ice, and even in his everyday life on the streets.Shortly after Saul’s grandmother died due to suffering to hypothermia and eventually freezing to death, he was put into St. Jerome’s, which is a residential school, that unknowingly strips you of your culture. Saul began to notice the other minority students being abusing punished for not changing their culture, religion, and beliefs. He first witnesses a student being brutally beaten by a nun.Racial discrimination was an everyday thing for students at the residential schools as well as physical abuse. “It felt like they were trying to remove more than grime or odour. It felt as though they were trying to remove our skin.” (Wagamese 44) Children would willingly do anything to stay away from residential schools. This would include running away in wishes not to return. Students who were caught would be brutally punished. “They called it a school, but it was never that….There were no tests or examinations. The only test was our ability to survive.” (Wagamese 79). There were many instances where students were abused. One instance took place right in front of Saul’s eyes. “He screamed as the paddle struck his back. The nun yanked him to his feet as though he was a rag toy and struck him repeatedly  behind the knees and on the back of the thighs” (Wagamese 48). Saul observed many kids taking their own lives due to the intense living conditions that the school enforces.  Not only did Saul have conflict with society at the school, but as well as on the ice.While in the school, Saul was introduced to hockey by Father Leboutilier. Saul soon looked at Father Leboutilier as someone who he could put all his faith in and trust. Father Leboutilier noticed how much of a leader figure he portrayed to be to Saul and took advantage. During the nights when Saul is sleeping, Father would go into his room and molest him. “”You are a glory Saul.” Those were the words he used instead of love, and he’d given me the job of cleaning the ice to buy my silence, to guard his secret.” (Wagamese 199) Saul was promised by Father that he would be able to play when he becomes more physically inclined if he kept his secret. Saul shows great interest in Ice Hockey although he is too young to play, alternatively, he would observe every time that the school hockey team would go on the ice. He began to learn a lot about hockey such as placement, plays, and even fresh moves. Saul started to go on the ice himself after clearing it for the team. Eventually, when Saul’s school hosted tryouts for the hockey team, Saul tried out and made the team! At every game, Saul would be made fun of by the crowd and other players. “The Crows howled when they saw me skate to the centre line to take the faceoff.” (Wagamese 75) This is just one example of what would occur in his everyday life. Saul soon portrayed as an “Indian Savage” based on his demographics. “Do they hate me?””They don’t hate you, Saul.””Well, what, then?””They think it’s their game.”  (Wagamese 91,92). All the discrimination, racial comments, and propaganda would even result in students’ lives being taken.