Indian Horse


Richard Wagamese

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Indian Horse: Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

The Moose travel to Kapaskasing, the hometown of their challengers. The arena is very new and full of the team’s trophies from previous years. Saul can sense that his teammates are intimidated by the arena. Furthermore, Fred Kelly was unable to make the trip. Shortly before the game starts, a man comes into the locker room and asks for the Moose “lineup card.” Virgil, who's never been asked for this before, is forced to quickly jot down his teammates’ names. When the man reads the names, he snorts and says, “You got some pretty weird names here.”
Wagamese emphasizes the contrast between the white team’s wealth, evidenced by their flashy arena, and the Indigenous team’s relative modesty. Right away, the Moose feel out of place. The white team has a different way of doing things, and because they’re playing at the white team’s arena, they’re teased in various small ways.
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The Moose players prepare for the game. The crowd laughs at the sight of Saul and yells that he must be the Moose team’s mascot. Virgil tells his teammates to play “Just like [they] always do. No matter what.”
Although a lot is different about this game—the location, the atmosphere, the opponents—Virgil wants his players to concentrate on their game instead of allowing themselves to be intimidated.
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The game begins, and Saul is immediately stunned by the opposing team’s talent. After only a couple minutes, the score is 5-0, and the Moose are badly behind. But during this time, Saul begins to understand the opposing team’s strategy. He intercepts the puck, skates down the rink, and scores a goal. Within a couple more minutes, the score is 5-4. However, Saul is exhausted from playing so hard.
Saul likes to hang back at first and get a feel for his opponents’ strategy. Once he has a sense for the opposing team’s use of space, he’s able to come from behind and score back-to-back goals.
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With seven minutes left in the game, the Moose call for a timeout. Saul can see the fear in his teammates’ eyes. The game resumes, and he pushes himself hard. He passes the puck to Virgil, who scores a goal, tying up the game. In the final minute, Saul manages to skate past an older, bigger opponent and end the game with a Moose victory, 6-5. To Saul’s amazement, the crowd cheers for him—he’s won them over with his talent.
Saul pushes himself, not only because he wants to win but also because he doesn’t want to disappoint his competitive teammates. Saul is so talented that the predominately white crowd cheers for him—showing that, at least sometimes in the world of sports, skill can win out over prejudice.
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