first_imgPART 1: SEEING INDIAN HORSEIn a story published in Maclean’s last month, a headline declared: “For Indigenous people, ‘Indian Horse’ is much more than a movie.”The film, landing in theatres this weekend after premiering at TIFF last fall, grapples with the horrors of Canada’s residential school history and the trauma inflicted on First Nations.In the Maclean’s story, director Stephen S. Campanelli explains his reaction to reading the late Richard Wagamese’s novel and Dennis Foon’s adapted screenplay. Advertisement Twitter “I was shocked and angered and embarrassed to be a Canadian and not know about this. And I wrote an impassioned six-page email saying why I needed to direct it.”The uncomfortable question that I’m certainly not the first to ask is why Campanelli’s need to direct a story he previously knew nothing about is prioritized over the ambition of numerous Indigenous filmmakers who have been waiting for the opportunity to tell their stories.The film follows Saul Indian Horse, a witness to and victim of multiple abuses in the residential school system, where his heritage is systematically stripped away. As played by Sladen Peltier, Forrest Goodluck and Ajuawak Kapashesit at different stages in his life, Saul becomes an against-all-odds hockey star, struggling with whether his gift for Canada’s national sport is a resilient stance in the face of colonization or a sign of assimilating to a dominant culture that will never see him as an equal.The history is rarely, if ever, told in Canadian film, and I sincerely hope audiences get out and reckon with these past injustices. And Indian Horse stars Indigenous talent in front of the camera, including elders like Edna Manitowabi who have survived the residential school system and expressed pride during interviews and Q&As for having the chance to channel their pain into the film. Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisementlast_img