Indian Horse (2017) Script

The scariest memories is being taken away.

I was taken when I was six years old.

I didn't understand why...

When we spoke our language, we were punished.

...would hit me with a broom.

...always punished for, um... for speaking our language.

...drove out of here crying.

A lot of crying families.

...because I was so scared.

These people talk all the time, and expected me to do the same.

Told me many hearts beating together makes us stronger.

They said I should tell my story, that you can't understand where you're going if you don't understand where you've been.

The coughing sick.

He got it from school.

We're going where the white man can't find the boys.

My brother ran away from the school.

The white officers wouldn't stop looking for him.

My parents had been taken to school as children, and they were never the same.

My grandmother insisted we head north, to our family's ancestral land.

It's a beautiful place.

I told you I would take you to a safe place.

We are all spirit. We are part of this lake.

The white missionaries named this place God's Lake.

That's what they call it.

And we call it

Manitou Gameeng.

But now, no one is here.


She's telling stories.


It's true.

What would happen to them?

A powerful presence drove them away.

But our people said prayers in the Old Talk Carried Spirit Plates into the trees and your great-grandfather laid a tobacco offering high up on that cliff.

The spirits of the lake are pleased we are here.

That's blasphemy.

We've gotta give thanks to Jesus.

Your Jesus never fished these waters.

I'm never going to the school.

Then make sure they never catch you.

They won't.

I run too fast.

And... I'll hit 'em with stones.


That one's special.

You should keep it.

My people are the Anishinabeg, the Fish Clan of the Northern Ojibway.

We sprang forth intact from the womb of our mother, the Earth...

Our cheekbones cut from the granite ridges that rise above our homeland.

Her heartbeat thrums in our ears.

We were her stewards and protectors... but we were forced beyond the influence of our legends.

We will honor him.

We will care for him.

We will take him to the high place like the ancestors did long time ago.

He's our son. Not yours.

We're taking him to the priests so he can get to heaven.

You'll be taken be the white man's drink and never come back.

You'll never come back.

Come with us?

I won't come.

Look after Saul.

We'll be back soon.



I watched and waited... through fall, till the sky turned to the pale, washed-out blue of early winter.

Where did my parents go?

They are not coming back.

We must leave.

Go down to Minaki, that's where my relatives live.

It's a three day journey, we'll stay there for winter.

If we stay here, we will die.

We must leave.

I never saw my parents again... and I still don't know what happened to them.

"Keewatin"... that's the name of the North Wind.

The old ones gave it a name because they believed it was alive, a being, like all things.

It descended upon us like a slap of a hand... sudden and vindictive.


There is a road up ahead.

What about you?

With all my being, I will stay warm.

We've got to keep moving.

Chew on this, it will help.

Almost there.

Almost there.

We made it, there's the road.

Don't stop.







You have to leave her, son.


She's gone.

Calm down, son.





I read once there are holes in the universe that swallow all light, all bodies.

In what seemed like an instant, the world I had known was replaced by an ominous black cloud.

That's mine.

That's mine! That's mine!

Sit still. Sit still.

Sit still.

Stop it.

Stand up.

Stand! Now!

What's your name?


You speak English. Very good.

My father taught me.

And he gave you a fine Biblical name.

What is your name?

I want to go home.

In English, please.

Let's try again. What's your name?

Do you know it?


You'll need something more suitable than that.

All right, from now on, your name is Aaron.

Tell him.

He says your new name is Aaron.

I have a name. My father's. Lonnie.

He says his...

He says "Lonnie" is his dad's name.

The Lord God is your father now.

Your human father has nothing more to offer you.

He's a trapper.

He says he's a trapper.

He's a heathen.

He's Ojibway.

Aaron, our goal here is to help you succeed in this world, so you have to learn English.

Sorry, son.

That's a good boy.

Sorry, Father.

You're disgusting.

Look at this.

Look at the filthy mess you made.


That's no help to him.

Who are you to say?

Leave this to me.

Gather your sheets and take them to the laundry.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Just like home.

At least you don't have to chew it.

Good morning, Father.

I don't like it.


You have to go back. You have to go back.

No, Katherine.

Here she comes. Let go.

Hey. No! No!

No, no. I don't want to go back down there.

That's enough. Sit down.

Turn around. Eat your food, or you'll be sent downstairs.

You know where she goes.

Yes, Sister.


Yes, Sister.

Behold the Lamb of God... behold He who takest away the sins of the world.

Blessed are they who are called to the supper of the Lamb.

They called it a school, but it was never that.

The Body of Christ.

There were no grades or examinations.

The only test was our ability to endure.

I expect you to learn this for tomorrow.


All of it.

Anish! Anish!

Stand up.

This is the third time this week I've heard you speaking Ojibway.

Come here.

The Good God gave you this mouth.

He gave you language.

It is a very grave sin to corrupt these sacred gifts with falsehood and deceit.



Go see Father Gaston in the office.

Forgive me, Sister, but the boy is already suffering.

Soon enough you'll realize the importance of consistency in building discipline and trust.

I was taught that if you win their hearts, you win their minds.

And what other theoretical drivel do they teach you at the seminary, Father Gaston?

The bough that doesn't bend will break, Sister.

We'll see what Father Quinney has to say about that.

I have a secret place for us to go tomorrow.

Meet us outside.

Let's go.

My grandmother had always referred to the universe as "the Great Mystery."

Mystery fills us with awe and wonder.

It is the foundation of humility, and humility is the foundation of all learning.

So we do not seek to unravel this.

We honour it by letting it be that way forever.



His leniency is in clear contravention of our ideals and practices.

There's a difference between leniency and human kindness.

It isn't kind to deprive children of guidance.

You're quite right, Sister.

That is our mission, after all, but there are a lot of ways to achieve this goal.

Sister, this winter you'll see some changes.

I'm going to provide the children with a new outdoor activity.

What's he talking about?

A little higher, please.

What're you making?

An ice rink!

For skating... and hockey.

What's that?

You'll see... soon enough.

Look what they're making!

Let me see!



You gotta let go.


Come on, Katherine!

Don't, they'll lock you up again!

Hurry! They're coming! Please don't! You gotta let go.

She's back with you again.

Rebecca, you know why we forbid this.

Because it makes her weak?


She clings to me instead of the Good God, our Father.

Put the little one in Contrition.

No! No, please!

You promised to control her, Rebecca.

Sister! Please let her go! Please let her go!


...Our Lord, who was crucified, died, and was buried.

The third day, he rose again...

Your mistake?

Jesus only arose once.

You suffer from the sin of pride, Rebecca.

Go to the corner and quietly continue.

...Our Father, who art in heaven...


Stand and say the Lord's Prayer.

Our Father...

Our Father...



Who art in Heaven, hallowed... be thy name...

Okay, but let's keep it simple, okay?

Let's start half speed.

Here we go!

Quick, quick, quick!

You look like you've never seen people skate before, Saul.

I don't like games much.

Just watch.

There's a genuine rhythm underneath all this mayhem.

Once you grasp the rules, you'll start to see it.

I see it already.

You do?

It's cleared back into Canada's zone.

Here they are, four of them out over the line.

Peyton, he cleared it in the left side.

MacGuiness has it, 27 seconds, there it is, a break, and he scores!


I want to learn to skate.

Sorry, Saul, you can't.

Father Quinney only allows the older boys to play.

19 minutes, 33 seconds.

You don't have to tell him.

Rules are rules.

If I break them for you, it could ruin it for everybody.

Peyton comes away with it.

Up to Burns...

I can be the one to look after the ice.

I'll do it before anybody wakes up.

Nobody will know.

...he fakes the shot and sends it to MacGuiness, but the shot goes wide into the corner.

Will you keep up your studies and chores?

All right, then.

...Canada wins it, three to nothing.

All right, boys!

That's it, back to the dorm.

The rink became my escape... the ice, my obsession... the game... my survival.

Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.


Was that Saul I saw out on the ice this morning, first thing?

Yes, Father. He's helping me.

He's doing the morning maintenance on the ice rink.

And he's in charge of the equipment locker.

As long as he isn't playing.

He's too young.

Thank you, Father.

Okay, let's try it! Here we go!



I'm all right.

Let me see.

Doesn't look good, boys.

But Father, we need him for the game tomorrow.

Try not to stand on it.

Let me in!

Can you skate?

When did you learn?

By myself, after shovelling the ice.

All right. Let's see what you can do.



H-How did you learn to do that?

From those games on TV.

That was a pretty snazzy move.

You taught yourself that?


He's too young and too small to be playing hockey.

Father, he's the best player on the rink.

The others look up to him.

No child is so special that it warrants breaching our rules.

I understand...

But still...


Yes! Yeah!

I found a way out. We can run away.

I got a hockey game.

We'll go in the bust.

Trap a beaver and make a fire.

I gotta play.

We can find my dad.

We'll make a camp and sleep outside.

That'd be good but Lonnie -

At breakfast I'll meet you in front.

Come on.

Come on!

I can't.

Sorry, Lonnie.

I gotta go.

Now, listen.

This is our team's first organized game.

The other team is skilled, and they've been playing games like this since they were six.

So you go out there, play for fun, play as a team.

You ready?


Now, let's go, boys!

Come on!

Saul... you ready?


Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Don't let him get it!





The game loves you, Saul.

Well done.

Well done!

Come on.



It's all I could get.

Time to go, Saul.

Let him out. Please.

I can't.


He can't take it in there.

God forgive them their lack of charity.



What are you up to now, Saul?

Metal pipes.

They weigh twice as much as regular pucks.

How long have you been doing this?

About a month or so.

A workman gave 'em to me.

Make me stronger.



Nice skating.

Fred Kelly.

Fred has a team, Saul, up in Manitouwadge.

The Moose.

We play tournaments on rinks just like this one, every weekend in the winter, right up until breakup, or till the forwards have to wear flippers instead of skates.

Uh, anyways... we love hockey.

Trouble is, mill town teams don't want nothing to do with us.

'Cause you can beat 'em?

Ah, 'cause the white guys think it's their game.

The reserves take a lot of pride in their teams.

Even when it's 50-below, there's a crowd out, watching.

Tell him what you're thinking, Mr. Kelly.

Most of our players, they play junior-level hockey.

Right now, we're down a centre.

I was wondering if maybe... you'd like to play with us?

Fred and his wife lived at St. Jerome's for eight years, Saul, and I told Fred about you.

The Kellys offered to become your legal guardians.

That means you can leave St. Jerome's and go to Manitouwadge.

Attend a regular school.

You'll have a home.

A real home.

And I could play hockey?

All you can handle!


Hockey is God's game.

It's the perfect combination between human skill and passion.

That sport is brutal, devoid of Christian values.

Saul's talent is miraculous.

Your responsibility is to teach the children humility.

Father, he'll have the benefit of a good home and schooling.

He has that here with us.

I don't know why Our Lord chose to grace this boy, but he did, and I've seen it with my own eyes.

That shot he made at the White River game...

That was a minor miracle.

How does this miracle help him with the rest of his life?

Does it support his inner strength, his faith in God?

When the hockey ends, he'll have nothing, he'll be in Hell.

Sister, he has no relatives that we know of.

If his parents are still alive, they've abandoned him.

And now, to deny him a nurturing family, or suppress God-given gifts, that's not what we stand for.


Do you want to go, Saul?

I'm going away, Lonnie.

You're gonna be all right, okay?

I want to go away too.

Look, it won't be long.

Summer comes, you'll be old enough to leave here, and we'll find each other.

No, we won't.

Sure we will!

Look, we'll go out in the bush, we'll be trapping and fishing, and we won't come back.

I want to go home.


Saul... now, I've been thinking.

Hockey... is like the universe.

If we were right in the heart of it, we'd see chaos.

But you... you see the order, the path, the great spirit of the game.

That's what makes you so extraordinary, Saul.

You have that spirit within you.

You are glory, Saul.

Thank you, Father. Thanks, Fred.

"Manitouwadge..." means "Cave of the Great Spirit."

Funny, since everyone works in the mine.

That's why we're here.

Tough place, but it's work.

Next year, maybe you'll work there too.


What do you think?

I like it.

That's good.

Took me and the boys a couple years just to get that...

Fred! For Pete's sake, the boy needs food before he needs hockey.

Come on in.

Martha, this is Saul.

Hi. Welcome to our home.

Me and Martha have three sons.

Virgil is the only one that's still living at home, and he's captain of the Moose.

Kinda small.

Ah, he plays bigger.

He'll want to.

I bet it's been a while since you've seen bannock.

Here, son. Here.



So this used to be Garrett's room...

It's your room now, though, Saul.

Is this the first time you've had your own room?

Is it all right?

This is your home now.

You're not in that place anymore.

You're safe here.

Thank you.

Welcome to the Moose, Saul!

Number 13, for good luck.

Here, try it on.

I wore that when I was with the Moose.

Stand up.

Every reserve in the north had a hockey team.

We travelled to tournaments every few weeks.

Each team paid about $10 to play, and the winner took home a small purse.

They were the fastest and most fluid players I had ever seen.

I was in awe of their skill and strength, and more than a little nervous.

That's what I call a game!

Good game, Saul!

All you guys, good game!

Now, that's what I call a game!

You didn't even score, man.

Who cares? Bambi did!

No overtime!

Hey, Moose.

The Johnson Mill Chiefs are a Senior "A" team... all mill and mine workers.

That don't mean they're any good.

They're more than good.

They were league champions last year.

Playing tough teams is the only way us Moose are gonna get better.

You think it's an brand-new arena?

Definitely. I seen it.

Real dressing rooms with showers and toilets.

Ernie'd go anywhere for a toilet.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight's visiting team, the Manitouwadge Moose.

It's just another game.

Don't make it bigger in your heads.

Play it like you always do.

Be Moose! Be Indians.

And now, your Johnson Mill team.

Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa. Stay put, stay put.

You're the first star.

What's that?

There's three stars, like on Hockey Night in Canada.

You gotta go back out there.

No, I don't.

Have to! It's tradition.


Ladies and gentlemen, the first star of the game, Saul Indian Horse!

We just got a challenge from another white team.

Everybody's gonna want to play us.

Guess those boys like getting their asses kicked.


They got shocked seeing Indians skate.

Think it's their game. Not ours.

They play for the same reasons we do, the feeling.

Nobody owns that.

Manitouwadge Moose.

Welcome to Honky Night in Canada, boys!

Come on, boys! Come on!

Anybody spears you is gonna pay for it.

Don't matter. I'll keep finding the net.

Let them get the penalties, not us.

Number 13! You're gonna need an Indian hearse!

I'm sick of this.

Gonna scalp you, Indians!

That "Indian hearse" line was pretty good, though.

Blanket-ass! Wagon-burner!

Nice friendly town they got here.

Pitcher of beer?

Did someone die?

The old Moose knuckle sandwich.


I'm hungry enough to eat an Indian Horse.

Them other guys sure wanted a bite of him.

Yeah. It's a good thing your face got in the way of that guy's fist, eh?

If it ain't the squaw-hoppers.

Win a little hockey tournament and think you can come in here and eat like white people?

What the hell you want?

You want to eat here, you're gonna have to fight for it.

Is that right?

Sounds fun.

Save my spot, Saul.

I'll be right back.

You play a hell of a game, little star.

That and the fact you're a kid gives you a pass.

Wait your turn.

You can go next.

Are you okay?

What happened?

Let's get outta here.

Your turn.

Let's go.


One thing for sure... those were the tiniest bunch of pricks I ever seen.



Saul! We gotta go!

Move it, man. Everybody's waiting.


Stop taking that cheap shit.

You're not a runt anymore.

We're gonna scalp you, Injuns!

Guy's the coach for that Toronto Monarchs.

It's a feeder team for the Maple Leafs.

Says he'd like to talk to you, Saul.

About what?

Jack Lanahan?

Saul Indian Horse.

Hi, Saul.

I'll leave you two to it.

So, Fred tell you why I'm here?


I'd like you to play for my team.

What do you think about that?

Not much.

With the right coaching and environment, you could play pro.

You're incredibly fast.

You have a puck sense like I've never seen before.

I'm happy playing with The Moose.

The great players are conjurers, Saul.

They become one with the game, and it lifts them up and out of their lives.

That's what happens to you, isn't it?


You make the ice work for you, Saul.

That's why you should be playing at a higher level.

You're wasted here.

So what the hell happened?

He wants me in Toronto.

When's it start? When you going?

I'm not.

What? You're kidding.

Don't want to.

Look, Bambi. That don't matter.

You got called.

We all play the game wishing someday we'll get the call to play with the big boys.


I'm 26.

I've been working graveyards in the freaking mines since I was 16 years old.

You've gotta give it a shot for all of us!

If you don't go, you're a coward.

Let it beat you without even trying.

And if you stay, I'll be the one doing the beating.

What if I don't cut it?

You will.

You believe that?

I ain't the one who's gotta believe it.

It's time to go.


I know you're torn about going.

I am so proud of you.

It takes great courage to take something like this on.

I know you'll do good.

So let's go.

Some bannock and some food for your trip.

Saul, don't forget us.

I'm gonna miss this place.


Nothing to miss, really.

I feel like I grew up here.

Guess you did.

You were a pup when you got here.

You're like a brother to me.

I had a brother once.

What happened to him?

My dad never talks about the school.

Mom neither.

And they don't say nothing about what happened before that.

Same as you.

Maybe this is your chance to rub the shit off the board once and for all.

Okay, let's get this show on the road!

Virgil... thanks for everything.

Don't sound so damn final, Bambi.

You can come back any time.



You take good care of this kid.

He's special!

Welcome to Toronto, Saul.

This is my wife, Elissa.

Hi, Saul.

First time in the big city?



You were a part of my family for many years... and you always will be.


You give it your best.

All right.

Just, uh, make yourself at home.

The kitchen's that way, fridge is full.

I'll go get you something.

Come on. I'll show you your room.

They all played for you?

They all stayed here.

They played for me on the Monarchs, and ended up in the NHL.

A lot of great players have slept in that bed.

They're saying Reggie Leach is gonna tear up the record books.

He's an Indian kid just like you.

Oh yeah?

So there's been a trail blazed for you, Saul.

So you had your choice of numbers and you picked the only one nobody ever wants?

I always had this number.

You don't think it's bad luck?

All right, men! See you out there.

Let's go, boys!

Hustle out there, guys!

Stick to the game plan, guys.

Let's go, let's go, let's go!

You make me look bad, I'll knock your lights out.

Big game out there, big game.

Come on!

They wrote you up.

"Bright-eyed like a painted warrior bearing down on a wagon train.

In a tussle, he took a player's scalp."

These guys have a way with words.

And you told the reporter you learned how to shoot with a frozen horse turd.

Is that true?


That's one way to learn stickhandling.

Don't worry about that, Saul.

They've just never seen anyone like you before.



I've been following you with the Monarchs.

I can't believe I'm reading about you in the newspapers.

A month into the season, and you're already a star.

You're doing what you always did, Saul... you're making the other players better.

It's a miracle how far you've come.

I'm so proud of you.

I wish I could keep following your career, but the Church is sending me away.

Where are you going?


To teach.

I... just wanted you to know.

The school...

What was happening there...

It was wrong.

You are glory, Saul.

Keep your head up, Chief.

Break it up!

Any more penalties, he's out of the game.

You've got 22 points in nine games.


We've lost seven of them.

You blaming me?

You've sat 120 minutes in the penalty box.

I didn't bring you here to be a goon.

I'm giving 'em what they want, the crazy Redskin.

You're letting the other teams rattle you with stupid trash talk.

You know how to roll off a hit?

It's the same thing.

And what about the shit that's coming from my own team?

You're not skating with your buddies anymore!

These guys may be hard towing now, but believe me, they'll take you to the next level.

My buddies I could trust.

They had my back.

Saul... every kid dreams of this moment.

I had dreams once.

I don't have 'em anymore.

Saul, listen.

I know it's not easy, but if Reggie Leach can do it, you can too.

I promise you, get through this, everything changes.

You're gonna make it to the show, then you'll be a role model for your kind.

My "kind"?

Yes! An inspiration!

You don't know a damn thing about me.

All I need to know is you got a gift like no other.

I've seen you on the ice.

I know what you can do, I know how it makes you feel, and I'm not blind to the fact that it's killing you not to play the way you can.

You got no idea what kills me or my "kind," do you?

Listen to me, Saul.

It's all sitting right there for you.

This is your way out.

Your way to a better life.

There is no better life for me.

There never will be.

I became a wandering nomad with my eyes on distant hills.

I covered long charcoal stretches of highway... like a river bearing me somewhere beyond all recollection.


It was a dim world, and I felt dead inside.

Beyond thinking... beyond emotion... beyond hope.

You drink down, because after all the roads you've travelled, that's the only direction you know by heart.

You can't sleep here.

Hey! You've got to get up.

You've made a mess of your body and your liver.

Another bout of drinking will likely kill you.

The Rising Dawn Centre's just north of the city.

It's the best place for Native people to get help for their addictions.

Now, they've said they'll take you, if you want it.

Good luck.

Then the cops... they put me in that...

...foster home.


I haven't seen my family since.

My grandma...

She could be dead.

I been too drunk to be looking.


Thank you. Thank you, Karen.


Would you like to share?

Have you ever wept, Saul?


You need to find a place where you can.

Here with us, or on your own... but you need to find it.

Your silence is killing you.

He's a heathen.

Anishnaabe aawi.

That's a good boy.

That's mine! That's mine!

It's so good to see you so excited about something.

Rules are rules.

If I break them for you, it could ruin it for everybody.

Sometimes, ghosts linger.

They hover in the furthest corners...

...And when you least expect it, they lurch out, bearing everything they brought to you when they were alive.

What have you got, Saul?

What is it?

Horse turd.




You are glory, Saul.

I came far to make this journey.

I could feel my family and my ancestors.

It was here, in this place... where everything started and everything ended.

I was with them again.



One day, my great-grandfather, Shabogeesick, walked out of the bush leading a strange black animal.

Our people had never seen such a creature, and were afraid.

"It is a horse," he told them, "and it comes bearing great teachings."

"A thunder will crash through our hearts and minds, and we must learn to ride the horses of change."

"It is what the future asks of us."

"Our survival depends on it."

Guys, let's do this! Let's do this!

Come on, look alive, look alive!

Welcome to the Moose, Saul!

You always have a home here.

What do you think?


Look who's here!


Welcome back.

Welcome home, Bambi.

Hey, boys!

Look who's here!

About time!


Look who's here!

Good to see you, buddy!

Still a bag of antlers.

Good to see you too.

They were lost. They didn't understand.

They didn't recognize their parents.

They didn't recognize anybody in their community.

Why was I like that?

Why didn't I speak up?

To this day, there's a lot of us that don't know how to speak our native tongue.

If you succeed in going to school, that's great.

But I want my grandchildren to know where I've been, and, um, why I do the things that I do.

It's up to we as a community to bring back or have that pride in our souls.

We have a beautiful, incredible, beautiful gift that was given to us is our children.

But the more you talk about it, the healing takes place inside you.

My name is Julie Ozagosh.

My name is Shirley Ida Williams.

My name is Larry Theodore Jr.

My name is Saul Indian Horse.

And this is my story.