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Indigenous Cinema Series In Missoula Features 'Indian Horse' Film

Screen capture from the "Indian Horse" website,, 11/05/18.
Screen capture from the "Indian Horse" website,, 11/05/18.

Canada’s most popular film this year will be shown in Montana as part of an Indigenous Cinema Series in Missoula.

The film called "Indian Horse" is based on a novel written by Ojibway author Richard Wagamese. It tells the story of an Ojibway boy in Ontario, Canada torn from his family and placed in a notorious Canadian Catholic residential school.

The movie follows Saul Indian Horse throughout three decades of his life starting in the 1950s. After he’s separated from his family, Saul finds hockey and uses it to rise above his circumstances.

Producer Paula Devonshire says this film was made to shed light on a suppressed history in North America of native children being removed from their homes and placed in boarding schools. The schools were designed to assimilate children to white society.

"And the message is just about resilience, about, you know, a young indigenous man’s struggle and resilience to survive and move on through his life.”

The filmmakers worked in collaboration with two Anishnawbek nations in Canada and received advice from two Ojibway elders who survived residential schools.

The movie’s cast is made up of actors and non-actors alike. Devonshire says a woman who plays a grandmother in the film lived in a residential school in real life.

"She is really telling her truth when she acts in this film."

"Indian Horse" was released in April in Canada and has received 15 film awards. It will be shown at the Roxy Theater November 7.

A documentary called "Dawnland" about the same topic will be shown as part of the series on November 28. It premiers on PBS November 5. "Dawnland" follows the first government-created “truth and reconciliation commission” in Maine, which investigated the impact of the removal of native children from their homes.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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