Blaine and I, the other evening, once more found ourselves aimlessly scrolling through Netflix titles, trying to settle on a movie to watch. Netflix is great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I honestly feel as though it offers too much selection; you can spend two hours just trying to find something to watch.
We were going to rewatch one of our favourites since we were struggling to find a new selection, until we landed upon a film titled ‘Indian Horse.’ We decided to put it on (Blaine has asked me to specifically note it was him who ultimately chose this title), and not long into watching it, we agreed we picked a great one.
Here is a synopsis of the movie, provided by indianhorse.ca:
“An adaptation of Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese’s award-winning novel, this moving and important drama sheds light on the dark history of Canada’s boarding schools or Indigenous Residential Schools and the indomitable spirit of aboriginal people. INDIAN HORSE stars Canadian newcomers Sladen Peltier and Edna Manitowabi, as well as Ajuawak Kapashesit (Indian Road Trip, Once Upon A River), Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant, The Miseducation of Cameron Post), Michael Murphy (Away From Her), Michael Lawrenchuck (Tokyo Cowboy), Johnny Issaluk (Two Lovers And A Bear) and Michiel Huisman (The Age Of Adaline).
“In the late 1950’s Ontario, eight-year-old Saul Indian Horse is torn from his Ojibway family and committed to one of the notorious Catholic Residential Schools. In this oppressive environment, Saul is denied the freedom to speak his language or embrace his Indigenous heritage while he witnesses horrendous abuse at the hands of the very people entrusted with his care. Despite this, Saul finds salvation in the unlikeliest of places and favourite winter pastime — hockey. Fascinated by the game, he secretly teaches himself to play, developing a unique and rare skill. He seems to see the game in a way no other player can.
“His talent leads him away from the misery of the school, eventually leading him to the Pros. But the ghosts of Saul’s past are always present, and threaten to derail his promising career and future. Forced to confront his painful past, Saul draws on the spirit of his ancestors and the understanding of his friends to begin the process of healing.”
This movie is one everyone should see, even more so if you’re Canadian. It is incredibly emotional, saddening, shocking, educating and eye-opening, and watching it is the least we can do in an attempt to comprehend what Indigenous individuals endured because of their forceful assimilation into residential schools.
We owe them that.