We seek to live and walk among all people in a good way, as we follow the ways of Jesus-- affirming, respecting and embracing the God-given cultural realities of Native American and Indigenous people, not rejecting or demonizing these sacred cultural ways.I have already blogged about Richard, including a video of him in conversation. For a fuller tribute, checkout Shane Claiborne's Facebook entry which includes this:
One of my favorite emails was him teaching me the Lakota phrase “Ikce Wicasa” – which means “common man”. He put it like this:Meanwhile I simultaneously finished the extraordinary novel 'Indian Horse' from Canadian author Richard Wagamese. The riveting narrative follows the life of Saul Indian Horse from native childhood through time spent in a church run 'corrective' schooling system and beyond. Despite serious abuse Saul finds redemption in ice hockey and commences to navigate a new journey whilst still subject to taunts and discrimination because of his heritage. Again this book provides a revealing insight, reading like an autobiography, or memoir, which prompts one to research more background to the text.
“In Lakota tradition it is an anathema to becoming a bigshot - arrogant, boastful, proud, highminded, etc…. To be humble, simple, “one of the guys” is to be a common man, Ikce Wicasa -- it is a thing to be sought after… in my life, I strive to be ikce wicasa -- "common man."
So thank you Richard. May your courage and wisdom continue to inspire us to greatness, and may your humility and common-ness continue to inspire us to smallness.
Online interviews with the author point out that some Canadians see this book as primarily about hockey and even suggest that it should have a title that reflects that. Wagamese is adamant that it is actually centred on the need to face up to the past rather than simply revelling in the fulfilling aspects of the national sport.
Reader beware, though, as some dark truths emerge in the final twists and turns, it is gut wrenchingly disturbing. So, be prepared to shed a tear but don't expect to be able to put it down once you start...