Indian horse film screened in Sioux Lookout
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Approximately 100 people filled the Queen Elizabeth district High School (QEDHS) gymnasium for a film screening of Indian Horse.
Rotten Tomatoes describes the film, which is based on the award-winning best seller by Richard Wagamese, “In late 1950s Ontario, seven year-old Saul Indian Horse is torn from his Ojibway family and committed to one of Canada’s notorious Catholic residential schools. In this oppressive environment, Saul is denied the freedom to speak his language or embrace his indigenous heritage and he witnesses all kinds of abuse at the hands of the very people who were entrusted with his care. Despite this, Saul finds salvation in the unlikeliest of places and favourite Canadian pastimes--hockey. Fascinated by the game, he secretly teaches himself how to not only play but develops a unique and rare skill. It’s as if he has eyes in the back of his head and can see the game in a way no other player can. His talent leads him away from the misery of the school to a Northern Ontario native league and eventually the pros. But the ghosts of Saul’s past will always haunt him. Forced to confront painful memories and revelations, Saul draws on the spirit of his ancestors and the understanding of his friends to gain the compassion he so sorely needs in order to begin healing.”
The free admission film screening also featured information boards set up in the back of the gymnasium covering topics related to the residential school experience.
Marie Lands, who was part of the organizing committee for the film screening, said she had already watched the film. When asked about her experience taking in the film for the first time, Lands said it was emotional and relatable.
“It took a lot of emotion because I could relate with everything that was being shown in the movie. I had to actually go to sleep because it took so much energy to watch it,” she said.
Lands, along with Victor Lyon, who is the cultural resource coordinator at the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre, were both excited at the large turnout for the screening.
“It was a great turnout. I didn’t expect this, and I don’t think any of us expected this many people. I think people are interested, people want to hear, people are curious and I think it’s important that they came, heard and saw the effects of the residential schooling,” explained Lands.
“I thought it was a great turnout with a good mix of people. It’s nice to see this many people come out to see the stories of abuse from the residential school system,” said Lyon.
Lyon mentioned that he had watched the film prior to this screening too, sharing how emotional the film was for him, especially because he has family members that went through similar experiences.
“It brought me to tears at times. It was very difficult to watch because I’ve heard most of the stories before and I have relatives that have suffered those things, so it really hit home,” he concluded.