THE DEFENDER: Leslie Ransom
I was born and raised in a small northern Ontario town (Wawa). My roots remain in small communities, where I spent most of my adult life. I am a retired Secondary School Principal, but I also taught in private, public and First Nation schools for 32 years. I spent 3 years working as an elementary teacher in a very isolated First Nation community just south of James Bay. Our family enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience while there.
I am a dedicated community volunteer, having received a provincial award for outstanding volunteerism-Corps D’Elite. I am an avid reader and have been my entire life of all genres. I am also a fierce Library supporter.
I have also been involved in sports and competition in skiing, cycling, and running for my entire life. I am happily married for 40 years and have one child, a son, Loic.
THE BOOK: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows.
With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement.
Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man. Drawing on his great-grandfather’s mystical gift of vision, Saul Indian Horse comes to recognize the influence of everyday magic on his own life. In this wise and moving novel, Richard Wagamese shares that gift of magic with readers as well. (Goodreads.com)