“Hockey’s grace and poetry make men beautiful.” – Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

I have read exactly two books about hockey.

The first, the Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, is now a celebrated story, so quintessentially CanCon that it counts among its adaptations both a National Film Board animated short and the five-dollar bill. There are those who may find it ironic that the iconic work—translated from the original French Le chandail de hockey—is undeniably more Québécois than Canadian but after all the sport is our nation’s game, and indeed, part of the very fabric of our identity.

It is the second book, Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse – titled after the English-language surname imposed by the Zhaunagush (white colonizers) on an Ojibway family – that calls into question these very assumptions.

For Saul Indian Horse, the central character and narrator of the story, hockey is an escape, at first metaphorically and then literally, from life at St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School (the word ‘life’ here being hyperbolic; for Saul and the other Aboriginal children at the residential school, existence has been reduced to the singular act of surviving).

St. Jerome’s is described as “hell on earth” but despite the torment and many abuses suffered by students at the school and documented by Saul, for the reader the pain is less of a vivid, visceral experience as it is a dulled registering and then repressing of emotion. There is a distance to Saul’s descriptions of his time spent at the school; a fog, the same greyness of the tasteless gruel fed to the students, and produced by a reluctance to reflect on the ordeal of the situation, envelopes all of St. Jerome’s.

It is only when Saul is playing hockey that the fog lifts and he can see clearly again. Saul is first introduced to the game by Father Leboutilier, the young priest at St. Jerome’s who loves hockey so much that he coaches a handful of boys and puts together a team for the school.  Saul is enraptured by the stop-and-starts of gameplay and the scramble of the scrimmage but soon enough, he can read the game, slow the rhythms behind the movements of both puck and players, and anticipate the flow of play. In other words, he has a God-given talent for the game, and it is this divine framing of both sport and skillset by Father Leboutilier that convinces the school to allow Saul to leave St. Jerome’s in order to pursue hockey, join a reserve team, and play Native tournaments.

But once outside the residential school system and even with the promise of all the hockey he could ever want to play, it is still not a world without its darkness for Saul. Hockey elevates him, lifts him up and takes him above and beyond being a victim. It serves as a buffer for the anger and the grievance he feels for what has been taken from him, his family, and his community by the Zhaunagush, but this is gradually worn down as his team encounters widespread, systemic discrimination and profoundly personal harassment when they begin to play off-reserve and against white teams. Saul continues evolving as a player, advancing through the ranks of elite athletes until he’s vying for a spot on the Leafs feeder team. His efforts to hold onto both his dignity and his integrity for the sport, however, do not move forward. Eventually, even the electric intensity of hockey cuts outs for Saul and the world goes dark again, the “great game” revealed as only a Wizard of Oz sleight of hand for hiding his hurt, not a total transition into Technicolor.

In Indian Horse, Ojibway author Wagamese has created a rich and nuanced portrayal of a grief that is hard to give voice to: because the pain had seemed immemorial—an intergenerational inheritance—or was, consciously, deemed immemorable—a threat to one’s very survival. Like Saul, and for many in the Indian Residential School System, there were no words for the pain because the words themselves had also been taken away. Whether unintended or done deliberately in acknowledgement of this, a quiet lyricism permeates much of Wagamese’s work; the effect makes for storytelling that is surprisingly visual, be it the haunting bleakness of St. Jerome’s or the multidimensional plane of the ice rink where energies, movements, and intentions can all be seen and read by Saul during gameplay.

Those who don’t know much about the sport and worry that the story would be lost on them should know that Indian Horse is not a hockey book, not really, but one about the human capacity for hurting, and healing, ourselves. For those who don’t know much about the Indian Residential School System, its legacy, and the process of reconciliation, the story is thus a good starting point—Wagamese’s free talk on Thursday, October 31st at 2 pm in the Lillooet Room in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is another.

UBC Library is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Innovative Dissemination of Research Award. Established by the Library in 2010, this Award focuses on new and innovative ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge. The recipient will be announced in early 2014 and will receive a framed certificate and $2,000 cash. All UBC faculty, staff and students are eligible.

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on November 25, 2013. For more information or to download the application, please visit http://scholcomm.ubc.ca/news-and-events/award

LAW LIBRARY level 3: CD953 .F3713 2013
Arlette Farge, The Allure of the Archives (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K3830 .S34 2013
David Schneiderman, Resisting Economic Globalization: Critical Theory and International Investment Law (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K4610 .I58 2013
Indira Carr, Jahid Bhuiyan, Shawkat Alam, Md Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan, eds., International Trade Law and the WTO (Annandale: The Federation Press, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY reference room (level 2): KU4352 .L39 2007
Andrew Lynch, Edwina MacDonald & George Williams, eds., Law and Liberty in the War on Terror (Annandale: Federation Press, 2007).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KE7709 .L36 2013
Kirk N. Lambrecht, Aboriginal Consultation, Environmental Assessment, and Regulatory Review in Canada (Regina: U of R Press, [2013]).
Online access: http://resolve.library.ubc.ca/cgi-bin/catsearch?bid=6681643

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KF5423 .H69 2010
Charles L. Howard, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles, and Operations: A Legal Guide (Chicago: American Bar Association, 2010).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ3410 .T728 2013
Joel P. Trachtman, The Future International Law Global Government (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Gender and social justice researchers worldwide –as well as the general public interested in the feminist movement in Canada– will be happy to know of this digital collection that is now freely available online: Kinesis: News about women that is not in the dailies, published by the Vancouver Status of Women (VSW) from 1974 to 2001.

kinesis_blogThis image (the paper’s cover from April 1980) is a good example of what visitors can find in the collection: photographs and articles on issues of particular interest to women and created by feminist voices working to combat all forms of marginalization. This particular issue includes an account of the celebration of that year’s International Women’s Day, interviews with five women on their professional development, and a feature article on the stigma of illegitimacy and the struggle of single mothers to care for their children by themselves.

This digital collection is a product of a collaborative initiative with the Vancouver Status of Women, the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, and Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC. Although Kinesis is no longer being published, it has a permanent home for browsing and critical analysis in the UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections division, and now in our digital collections.

Image of canned goods

For the eleventh consecutive year, UBC Library and the Alma Mater Student Society are running their Food for Fines Campaign.

From October 21 to November 3, $2 will be waived for every non-perishable food item (up to a maximum of $30). Donations are also welcome! Food items are distributed to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and the AMS Food Bank. Visit the AMS Food Bank site for a list of food items that are in high demand.

Find us on Facebook & Twitter (#ubcfoodforfines).

The Canadian Library Association has declared October 18 as Canadian Library Support Staff Day.

It’s a day to recognize and give thanks to Library support staff who help deliver programs and services to their communities (and in our case, faculty and students). We believe that the contributions of all our Library staff are essential.

Earlier this month, University Librarian Ingrid Parent received a message of thanks from Derek Gregory, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor and Professor of Geography: 

“I’ve been meaning to write this note [to] tell you how very much I value the UBC Library system…I’ve also come to value the extraordinary holdings, both physical and digital, in the collections and the increasing ease of access to them…I realise how difficult this must be to maintain, given rising costs and falling budgets, so I’m under no illusions about how precarious this all is and how much work must be involved in maintaining such an excellent, truly vital resource for us all.” 

If you’re dropping by any of our Library branches today, take some time to say thanks or high-five to your favorite Library staff – they’ll appreciate the recognition!


Learn to use RefWorks citation management to organize your sources: PDFs, books, articles, web pages and more. 

When? Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 at 2:00PM – 3:00PM

Where? Woodward Library Computer Lab – Room B25


Register here: http://elred.library.ubc.ca/libs/dashboard/view/4494

In keeping with global trends on Open Access, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) are considering a policy that would require federally funded peer-reviewed journal publications to be made freely available within one year of publication. The draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy would harmonize open access requirements with that of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Open Access Policy.

In recognition of the challenges and implications of a such a policy for a broad range of stakeholders, NSERC and SSHRC are currently calling for feedback on the draft policy from institutions, associations, organizations and individuals.

The draft policy is accessible until December 13, at which time the consultation period ends. Feedback may be sent electronically via email. For more information or to participate in this consultation, please consult NSERC’s Consultation on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy.


UBC Library is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Innovative Dissemination of Research Award.

Established by the Library in 2010, this Award focuses on new and innovative ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge. The Award honors UBC faculty, staff and students who are expanding the boundaries of research through the creative use of new tools and technologies that enhance the research findings being disseminated.

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on November 29, 2013. For more information or to download the application, visit our Award section.

Sometimes, in business and in life, we get distracted from the big picture and focus too much on the details. This can be a challenge whether you are starting or already have a small business.

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