Indian Horse

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Indian Horse
First edition book cover
AuthorRichard Wagamese
PublisherDouglas & McIntyre
Publication date
Preceded byRunaway Dreams 
Followed byMedicine Walk 

Indian Horse is a novel by Canadian writer Richard Wagamese, published by Douglas & McIntyre in 2012.[1] Wagamese's best known work, it won the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature in 2013[2] and was a competing title in the 2013 edition of Canada Reads.[3]

The novel centres on Saul Indian Horse, a First Nations boy who survives the Indian residential school system and grows up to become a star ice hockey player.[1] It follows Saul on his journey to self-awareness and self-acceptance, taking the reader along so that his painfully-grained insights also become the reader's.[4]

According to Wagamese, in the beginning, he intended to write a novel about hockey: he had played amateur hockey himself and still loved the game, but gradually the legacy of the residential school system became a focal point of the story. He said that writing the book took about five times longer than it typically would have taken him to write a book "because of the emotional territory it covers". Although Wagamese himself did not attend a residential school, he was still affected by that system because his mother, aunts and uncles were residential school survivors.[5][6]

A film adaptation, Indian Horse, was directed by Stephen Campanelli and premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Indian Horse is a dark ride". Calgary Herald, February 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "Richard Wagamese wins Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature". Quill & Quire. Archived from the original on March 28, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  3. ^ "Newfoundland novel wins Canada Reads". Toronto Star, February 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese". Globe and Mail. February 17, 2012.
  5. ^ "Indian Horse author Richard Wagamese wields the saving power of stories". Georgia Straight. February 22, 2012.
  6. ^ "Indian Horse: 10 things about the groundbreaking new Canadian film". CBC Radio. April 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "Film adaptation of Richard Wagamese's novel Indian Horse to screen at VIFF 2017". The Georgia Straight, August 23, 2017.