Saturday, March 11, 2017
We Will Always Have Indian Horse
A wonderful author has left us. The date of Richard Wagamese's death has already been recorded as March 11,2017 on Wikipedia. I have not yet heard it on CBC or seen the announcement anywhere except on Sheree Fitch's Facebook page. I am heartsick about it. We have lost a powerful and passionate voice. This was a gentle, haunted man with the courage to face his demons and put words to paper. I have no idea what took him from us. He was just one year older than I am and as we often do we consider age deciding if one dies too soon. Of course he has died too soon. I expect he had a work in progress. I expect he had lots more work to do. I mourn that unfinished work. But on this day of his demise I celebrate what he leaves us. I remember following Canada Reads the year Richard's Indian Horse was on the short list. I was a strong advocate for it and felt the work was diminished by some of the incorrect or insensitive or just plain stupid remarks that were made. I wrote to Richard voicing my opinion and received a very gracious reply. I was not telling this man anything he didn't already know. He lived an entire life shadowed by racism and surface understanding of his reality. He soldiered through hardship and loss and found some light. I pray he left with a measure of peace. I will take Indian Horse down from my bookshelf today. I will hold the book close and embrace its existence. I will open its covers and reread the story it holds. I will remember the author and wish him Godspeed. I will be thankful for the journey that brought his words into my home. RIP Richard.