Indian Horse

The grandmother of Saul Indian Horse, Naomi is, in many ways, the key maternal figure in Saul’s life. A strong and sensitive woman, Naomi takes care of Saul by telling him stories, keeping him warm, and reassuring him that everything is going to be all right, even when it seems otherwise. Naomi is a matriarchal figure in her family, commanding respect from everyone around her and maintaining the family’s heritage and traditions. Tragically, her life comes to an end while she’s carrying Saul through the snow, trying to lead him to warmth. Her death coincides with Saul being taken to St. Jerome’s, one of the milestones of his life.

Naomi Quotes in Indian Horse

The Indian Horse quotes below are all either spoken by Naomi or refer to Naomi. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Douglas & McIntyre edition of Indian Horse published in 2012.
Chapter 3 Quotes

So we hid from the white men. Benjamin and I developed the quick ears of bush people. When we detected the drone of an engine we knew to run. We'd grab the old lady's hand and scuttle into the trees and find a place to secret ourselves away until we knew for certain that there was no danger.

Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
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Naomi Character Timeline in Indian Horse

The timeline below shows where the character Naomi appears in Indian Horse. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
In 1961, Saul is just a boy. His grandmother, Naomi, is the matriarch of Saul’s community. Even as a child, Saul can sense that Naomi... (full context)
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
...sister named Rachel. Saul never met Rachel, since she disappeared at the age of six. Naomi tells Saul and Benjamin about how, one day, the white man, or “Zhaunagush,” came to... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
At night, Saul is scared. But Naomi comforts him by telling him stories about the old days—the days when Saul’s grandfather used... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Naomi argues that the family needs to move again because the white men will come looking... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
...and journeys to Gods Lake. They canoe past beautiful forests and mountains. During the journey, Naomi tells her grandchildren about the “Long Ago Time,” when Fish Clan hunters tried to catch... (full context)
Chapter 6
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...disappeared, crushed beneath heavy boulders. Saul hears his name again, and he turns to find Naomi staring at him. Saul begins to weep. (full context)
Chapter 7
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
Naomi never explains Saul’s vision to him explicitly, but it’s perfectly clear what it means: Saul... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
Naomi and Saul’s mother sometimes argue about how to worship Creator. In school, Mary learned to... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
...prepare for the upcoming harvest. They then journey by canoe to the rice beds. There, Naomi explains, they’ll harvest the wild rice by bending down the big “heads” of rice, and... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
...men and women collecting rice, and even filling entire canoes with rice. As he watches, Naomi explains that rice is a sacred part of their society. Creator, she explains, blessed the... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
...wild rice plants, and Mary loads the rice into big baskets. Saul and Benjamin follow Naomi’s directions by stepping on the rice to break it up into pieces. In the middle... (full context)
Chapter 8
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Following Benjamin’s death, the family gathers to honor his memory. Naomi says that they’ll carry him to “a high point,” so that his spirit will soar... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
John tells Naomi that they’ll be taking Benjamin to a priest. Naomi refuses to accompany Saul’s parents. She... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
...come back from their journey to find a priest. Weeks go by, and Saul and Naomi become worried. Eventually, Naomi tells Saul that they can’t wait any longer: they’ll have to... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Naomi and Saul canoe away from Gods Lake. It’s becoming very cold, but Naomi makes warm... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
While Saul and Naomi paddle down the river, Naomi sings songs. Saul can’t tell what the songs mean, but... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
After four days of travel, Saul and Naomi hit some rough water, and they’re forced to swim away from the boat. They swim... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Saul and Naomi continue through the wilderness. Naomi claims that they’re close to Saul’s great-grandfather’s trail, though Saul... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Saul and Naomi rest for a moment by the railway platform in the freezing cold. As Saul rests,... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
Had the canoe not capsized, Saul sometimes thinks, he and Naomi would have reached Minoose. But instead, Naomi froze to death, and Saul was “cast adrift... (full context)
Chapter 49
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
...When Leboutilier hugged Saul, Saul felt completely and totally loved. This makes him think of Naomi, who he still misses enormously. Saul remembers what Leboutilier used to tell him: “You are... (full context)