The eagle has no fear of adversity. We need to be like the eagle and have a fearless spirit of a conqueror!- Joyce Meyer. In the book Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, main character Saul is forced to overcome a great amount of adversity throughout each chapter, these hard challenges hurt Saul physically, mentally and spiritually; causing him to break. In the beginning of the book, Saul is taken away from everything he knew and put into a residential school where kids were laboured, abused and killed because they were different.
They called it a school, but it never was that There were no grades or examinations. The only test was our ability to endure. (Wagamese p79) The kids in this residential school got one hour of schooling a day. The rest of the day is used for doing all this labour.
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 out of the heavy, scratchy material they got from the army. The boys mucked out the stalls of cows and horses, hoed the fields, harvested the vegetables or worked in the carpentry shop. (Wagamese p79)
They did not get paid for their labour, they didn’t get any form of reward for all the work they did for the school. The school mentioned throughout the book was named St. Jerome’s Residential School described in the book as Hell on earth (Wagamese p81) The main character of the book, Saul, and other children endured many difficulties throughout their time at St. Jerome’s. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, occurred daily. They were forced out of their culture, forced to speak english and forget everything about where they came from.
Along with many other boys, Saul found a way to escape the fear and sadness, hockey, although at first he wasn’t allowed to play because he was too young, but eventually made the team they created which gave him a little hope. He started off with just clearing off the ice every morning, making sure it was clean and just right for the older boys to play on later that day. Then he began to get the courage to pick up a stick and use animal turds as pucks. After continuing with that for a while Saul began to stuff skates with used paper so they would fit his feet and practiced skating in the morning and practiced plays he had seen on Father Leboutiliers TV. The kids on the other team for Saul’s first hockey game called him the mascot because he was so small and drowned in the hockey jersey because it was so big. He is soon recruited to the White River Falcons and trains with the town team. But eventually the coach of the team, Levi Dieter, breaks the news to Father Leboutilier and Saul that teams are beginning to refuse to play against their team because their star player was an Indigenous Canadian. Things started to look up for Saul as Fred Kelly, coach of hockey team The Moose, a big tournament team, goes to watch him and his team and gave Saul and Father Leboutilier a great offer. To join the team, move out of the residential school and into the Kelly home, despite resistance from other teachers at the school, Father Leboutilier agrees and sent Saul off, to give him a chance at a better life. When Saul gets to the new team, all the boys ignore him and act like hes not there, until he intercepts with the game, passes the puck to a teammate and get a goal.Later on, The Moose is asked to play against the White Canadians and are very reluctant. Racist slurs and anger from the other team and their supporters. Eventually The Moose wins the game with a score of 6-5 and to Sauls surprise the crowd cheers for him.