Books

Why Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese is meaningful to Shelagh Rogers

"I miss Richard so much but when I read Indian Horse, I can dial into his voice, loud, proud, fierce and clear," says Shelagh Rogers.
Shelagh Rogers is the host of The Next Chapter and an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (Douglas & McIntyre/Charlie Cheffins)

July 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is creating the Great Canadian Reading List — a list of 150 books curated by you. 

Our first recommendation comes from Shelagh Rogers, host of CBC's The Next Chapter. She has chosen Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese.

"The novel opens with an Ojibway man named Saul Indian Horse, in a treatment centre, reluctantly writing the story of his life so that by understanding where he came from, he'll know where he's going. It takes in Saul's trauma as a child in residential school, and the quotidian banality of the racism he faces as an adult but it's also about the release and transcendence he found in being a young superstar, in a number of hockey leagues. The adult Saul is working through a loss that affects him at a cellular level: loss of his family, culture, language and identity. By the end, Saul is on the road to healing.

"Richard Wagamese died in March of this year. This book is most meaningful to me right now because when I read it, I remember how Richard loved hockey, how he came back to his culture, language and spirituality and what that meant to him, how he himself went through healing from the legacy of residential school. I miss him so much but when I read Indian Horse, I can dial into his voice, loud, proud, fierce and clear. I am so grateful for that."

Shelagh Rogers is the host of The Next Chapter on CBC Radio One, an officer of the Order of Canada and and an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She also serves as the chancellor of the University of Victoria.

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