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Indian Horse and The Grizzlies Essay

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Par   •  5 Juillet 2023  •  Commentaire d'oeuvre  •  769 Mots (4 Pages)  •  160 Vues

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Indian Horse and The Grizzlies Essay

Both Indian Horse and The Grizzlies seemingly present the white savior trope. Indeed, both book and film tell the story of indigenous children rescued by white Canadians. But, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that the true heroes are the children, for to be a hero is not necessarily to have saved others, but rather to have saved oneself.

In Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, Saul is the hero. On one hand, he performs tremendous physical training that allows him to escape the residential school and gain better living conditions. During his time at St. Jerome’s, Saul trained late into the night only to “[...] climb back into bed and sleep until the dawn woke me and I could walk back out the rink again”. His great work ethic and perseverance led him to perfect his hockey skills to the point that Fred Kelly “wondered if you’d wanna come and play with us?” and recruited Saul. On the other hand, he does great emotional work on himself that allows him to overcome his alcohol addiction and find joy. In fact, Saul resorts to traumatic memories to better understand himself. Namely, Saul returns to St. Jerome, where he remembers the sexual abuse he was subjected to and had repressed for a decade. This allows him to finally vent his emotions, “I hit it with everything I had, until my arms and shoulders burned and it seemed that every ounce of fluid in me had drained out through my sweat and tears” and put the event behind him. He also returned to Gods Lake where he reconnected with his Indian side from which he had long ago separated, “All that I knew of Indian died in the winter of 1961”. This shows that it was not Father Leboutiller who saved Saul by introducing him to hockey but Saul who saved himself from his misery by his hard work and resilience.

In The Grizzlies by Miranda de Pencier, the students are the heroes. On one hand, they have brought families together by creating a sense of community. In doing so, they have created a support system and effectively combated the suicide epidemic. In fact, at the beginning of the film, when the suicide rate is at its peak, family seems to be a core value throughout the community. For example, Miranda is told by her mother, “I told you over and over, family comes first. Not school, not some fucking white man’s game” and Kyle is told by his father “You’d rather be with Russ than with your own family, is that it ?”. This illustrates that family is very important. So much so that each family seemingly fights their misery alone instead of working together. As the story progresses, the lacrosse team proves to be a unifying force. Indeed, they brought the community together before they left for Toronto. In this scene, a woman says to Russ, “we’ll be looking after Johnny” proving that families have begun collaborating. The growing support in the community is also shown when Miranda prepares a lunch for Zack, knowing that his family is starving, and when the players emotionally support each other by talking about Zack's death. It goes without saying that support and cooperation contribute to psychological well-being and thus reduce suicide. The children in The Grizzlies are the heroes because they managed to put an end to the suicide epidemic by creating strong bonds between the members of their community.

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