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Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER Fred Sasakamoose played in the NHL before First Nations people had the right to vote in Canada. This page turner will have you cheering for 'Fast Freddy' as he faces off against huge challenges both on and off the ice--a great gift to every proud hockey fan, Canadian, and Indigenous person. --Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and author of The Reason NATIONAL BESTSELLER Fred Sasakamoose played in the NHL before First Nations people had the right to vote in Canada. This page turner will have you cheering for 'Fast Freddy' as he faces off against huge challenges both on and off the ice--a great gift to every proud hockey fan, Canadian, and Indigenous person. --Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and author of The Reason You Walk Trailblazer. Residential school Survivor. First Treaty Indigenous player in the NHL. All of these descriptions are true--but none of them tell the whole story. Fred Sasakamoose, torn from his home at the age of seven, endured the horrors of residential school for a decade before becoming one of 120 players in the most elite hockey league in the world. He has been heralded as the first Indigenous player with Treaty status in the NHL, making his official debut as a 1954 Chicago Black Hawks player on Hockey Night in Canada and teaching Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his name. Sasakamoose played against such legends as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard. After twelve games, he returned home. When people tell Sasakamoose's story, this is usually where they end it. They say he left the NHL to return to the family and culture that the Canadian government had ripped away from him. That returning to his family and home was more important to him than an NHL career. But there was much more to his decision than that. Understanding Sasakamoose's choice means acknowledging the dislocation and treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples. It means considering how a man who spent his childhood as a ward of the government would hear those supposedly golden words: You are Black Hawks property. Sasakamoose's story was far from over once his NHL days concluded. He continued to play for another decade in leagues around Western Canada. He became a band councillor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. He paved a way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come. Yet, threaded through these impressive accomplishments were periods of heartbreak and unimaginable tragedy--as well moments of passion and great joy. This isn't just a hockey story; Sasakamoose's groundbreaking memoir sheds piercing light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows this extraordinary man's journey to reclaim pride in an identity and a heritage that had previously been used against him.


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NATIONAL BESTSELLER Fred Sasakamoose played in the NHL before First Nations people had the right to vote in Canada. This page turner will have you cheering for 'Fast Freddy' as he faces off against huge challenges both on and off the ice--a great gift to every proud hockey fan, Canadian, and Indigenous person. --Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and author of The Reason NATIONAL BESTSELLER Fred Sasakamoose played in the NHL before First Nations people had the right to vote in Canada. This page turner will have you cheering for 'Fast Freddy' as he faces off against huge challenges both on and off the ice--a great gift to every proud hockey fan, Canadian, and Indigenous person. --Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and author of The Reason You Walk Trailblazer. Residential school Survivor. First Treaty Indigenous player in the NHL. All of these descriptions are true--but none of them tell the whole story. Fred Sasakamoose, torn from his home at the age of seven, endured the horrors of residential school for a decade before becoming one of 120 players in the most elite hockey league in the world. He has been heralded as the first Indigenous player with Treaty status in the NHL, making his official debut as a 1954 Chicago Black Hawks player on Hockey Night in Canada and teaching Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his name. Sasakamoose played against such legends as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard. After twelve games, he returned home. When people tell Sasakamoose's story, this is usually where they end it. They say he left the NHL to return to the family and culture that the Canadian government had ripped away from him. That returning to his family and home was more important to him than an NHL career. But there was much more to his decision than that. Understanding Sasakamoose's choice means acknowledging the dislocation and treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples. It means considering how a man who spent his childhood as a ward of the government would hear those supposedly golden words: You are Black Hawks property. Sasakamoose's story was far from over once his NHL days concluded. He continued to play for another decade in leagues around Western Canada. He became a band councillor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. He paved a way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come. Yet, threaded through these impressive accomplishments were periods of heartbreak and unimaginable tragedy--as well moments of passion and great joy. This isn't just a hockey story; Sasakamoose's groundbreaking memoir sheds piercing light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows this extraordinary man's journey to reclaim pride in an identity and a heritage that had previously been used against him.

30 review for Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sister is frustrated with GR

    Why I wanted to read this book In my quest to understand more about the former Indian residential schools here in Canada, I wanted to understand more about what happened to Indigenous children who under the Indian Act were forced to attend the schools between 1920-1969. I wanted to read the truth-telling stories of the survivors who carried the burden of the truth forward about what happened and speak out against their oppressors. I want to understand better “the historical wrongs” against Indige Why I wanted to read this book In my quest to understand more about the former Indian residential schools here in Canada, I wanted to understand more about what happened to Indigenous children who under the Indian Act were forced to attend the schools between 1920-1969. I wanted to read the truth-telling stories of the survivors who carried the burden of the truth forward about what happened and speak out against their oppressors. I want to understand better “the historical wrongs” against Indigenous Peoples by the Canadian government and the Catholic Church. We need to start listening to the truth to bring Non-Indigenous People closer to understanding and reconciling those “wrongs” so Indigenous Peoples can move forward with their stories and bring peace and healing to their community. I feel Fred has done that. “When the present does not recognize the wrongs of the past, the future takes its revenge. For that reason, we must never, never turn away from the opportunity of confronting history together–the opportunity to right a historical wrong.” ~ Governor General Michaëlle Jean at relaunch for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, October 2009 About the Author Fred Sasakamoose was born in 1933 on Sandy Lake Reserve, now called Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. He died from covid complications on Nov 24, 2020. He lived to complete his memoir, but not to see its publication. At the age of seven, he was taken from his home with his brother and sent to St. Michael Catholic residential school. He called it “the last day of my childhood” He endured the horrors of the schools, and it is where his love of hockey began. His journey of hockey and healing began, and he became known as the first treaty status Indigenous player in the NHL. He played 11 games for the Chicago Black Hawks and years playing in the minor leagues, years off the ice dedicated to helping his community, paving the way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come while advocating for Indigenous peoples. He became a band councilor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. In 2012 he gave testimony on his experiences in the residential school system during Canada’s truth and reconciliation communion. About the Book Fred Sasakamoose shares with us living on Sandy Lake reserve, the day he and his brother were taken from his parents to live at St. Michael’s Residential School, to making a name for himself by directing his trauma and the abuse endured there into hockey. He shares his journey to playing in the NHL, minor leagues and paving the way for Indigenous youth through hockey. He sheds light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics while sharing his struggles to reclaim his identity and heritage ripped from by the church. In an empathic and understanding tone, he shares his trauma, heartbreak, tragedies, achievements, his own and his community’s struggle with substance abuse, his triumphs, and joy. My thoughts can be heard on my blog post Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheriee Weichel

    Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released May 18, 2021, by Viking - Penguin Random House Canada. Fred Sasakamoose begins his biography with the story of his ancestors who lived on the land before first contact. He tells of how their leader, Ahtahkakoop, was manipulated into signing treaties that were never kept. In many ways this pattern of lies and deceit is not a new story, but Sasakamoose makes it personal as he leads into how his family ended up Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released May 18, 2021, by Viking - Penguin Random House Canada. Fred Sasakamoose begins his biography with the story of his ancestors who lived on the land before first contact. He tells of how their leader, Ahtahkakoop, was manipulated into signing treaties that were never kept. In many ways this pattern of lies and deceit is not a new story, but Sasakamoose makes it personal as he leads into how his family ended up on the small reserve of Sandy Lake. Growing up, his mother was in charge of the family much of the time because his father was away logging or trapping to make a living. Fred was one of eleven children but only five survived due to smallpox. Their lives were constricted and limited by the local White Indian Agent and federal laws. "we were poor, that's the truth, But I didn't know that. What I knew what that home was full of song, dance and tradition. It was full of wonder and mystery. It was full of family, love and community." When his Moosum, Alexan (grandfather) came to stay with them, they became close. Alexan got Sasakamoose his first pair of skates and introduced him to the game. He learned to skate on a frozen lake. Alexan carved him a stick. He used it with a frozen cow patty as a puck. In 1941, when he was almost seven years old, he was taken from his parents and sent to residential school. St Michaels was more of a work colony than a school. He endured terrible abuses by priests and older boys. One of the priests, Father Roussel, was a hockey fanatic and organized the boys into a team. Sasakamoose may have developed as a hockey player there, but he left scarred. The only real victory at that institution was surviving. He barely returned home when he was visited by Father Roussel and George Vogan who wanted him to come and play hockey for the Moose Jaw Canucks in the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League. His mother encouraged him to go. In Moose Jaw he lived with George and his supportive family for three years. George became his father away from home. While he worked and played hockey, he improved, build skills and developed confidence. Throughout it all he had to deal with the racism of a few teammates and the team's fans. He was called up to play with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1953-54 season. He was the first Treaty Indigenous player in professional hockey. He played against legends like Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard. Up until that year, he never drank. He acquired a taste for alcohol while partying with his teammates. The following summer he drank too much and got out of shape. The next year he was cut from the team. Over the next couple of years he played hockey for the New Westminster Royals, Chicoutimi Sagueneens, and the Calgary Stampeders. During those years he met and married Loretta Isbister. Having no idea if he would ever play for Chicago again, and tired of being homesick, he decided to quit hockey and go home. He might have given up on hockey, but it hadn't given up on him. The owner of the Kamloops Chiefs tracked him down. He wanted Sasakamoose on his team. It was an amateur league, but it payed decent money so he and Loretta moved there. Fred went on to play with a senior league, the Saskatoon Quakers later on. For the next decade or so he continued to play on local teams during the winter to make extra cash for Loretta and his growing family. In those years after the NHL, Fred contributed to his community in numerous ways. He became a band councillor and chief. He worked hard to support indigenous hockey teams in Northern Saskatchewan and develop minor hockey and other sports programs across the province. Through it all he endured hardship, tragedy and joy. He spoke with numerous groups of children and adults about his life in hopes that it would help them lead healthy lives and not make the same mistakes he had made. When drugs made their way to their reserve, he worked collaboratively with the band as well as personally to provide a safe place for addicted individuals. Fred Sasakamoose won many awards. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Native Hockey Hall of Fame. He received National Aboriginal Achievement and Saskatchewan Indian Nations Circle of Honor Awards. He accepted a Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012. An honorary diploma was bestowed on him from Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The University of Saskatchewan gave him an honorary doctorate of law. His greatest honor was in 2018 when he received the Order of Canada. Indigenous hockey players still experience racism, but Fred blazed a trail for them by supporting their development and showing them that they could still overcome these obstacles and make their way into the big league. People write about Fred being an extraordinary story teller, and it shines through in this book. I'm not at all a sports or hockey fan, but his story drew me in and wouldn't let go. At the same time as it is his personal narrative, it's also the story of Indigenous people across the country. The ramifications of anti-Indigenous laws and racist attitudes of those in power are shown at both the intimate and collective levels. It's a testimony to how personable the writing is that I wept upon discovering that Sasakamoose died last November of Covid complications. He was 86. He is deeply mourned by those who knew him. Fred was one of those who truly left the world a better place than he found it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

     Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review I try to make sure that memoirs are part of my yearly reading experience. Whether you're a hockey fan or not, whether you're living in Canada or not, I highly recommend you spend some time with Fred Sasakamoose. As Bryan Trottier states in the foreword, once you meet Fred, you have found a friend. Absolutely fantastic read and a deeply moving memoir. #CallMeIndian #NetGalley (Also reviewed on Inst  Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review I try to make sure that memoirs are part of my yearly reading experience. Whether you're a hockey fan or not, whether you're living in Canada or not, I highly recommend you spend some time with Fred Sasakamoose. As Bryan Trottier states in the foreword, once you meet Fred, you have found a friend. Absolutely fantastic read and a deeply moving memoir. #CallMeIndian #NetGalley (Also reviewed on Instagram and Facebook) Publication Date 18/05/21 Goodreads review 02/06/21

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    With all the news about Residential Schools in the news right now, I wanted to know more. Not only are there bodies found buried, but there are survivors and the children/grandchildren of survivors that are still dealing with the after effects of the legacy of residential schools. When I saw this book by Fred Sasakamoose, I knew I wanted to read it. I am also a huge hockey fan, so I wanted to know what it was like for him to be the first Indigenous Player in the NHL. How was he treated? What did With all the news about Residential Schools in the news right now, I wanted to know more. Not only are there bodies found buried, but there are survivors and the children/grandchildren of survivors that are still dealing with the after effects of the legacy of residential schools. When I saw this book by Fred Sasakamoose, I knew I wanted to read it. I am also a huge hockey fan, so I wanted to know what it was like for him to be the first Indigenous Player in the NHL. How was he treated? What did he need to overcome? Well, I will tell you that everyone should read of listen to this book. It is important to listen and try to understand these things so Indigenous People can move forward, begin to heal and know that we are trying to build bridges to reconciliation. These stories are a first step to bring some of that understanding. Fred Sasakamoose begins his memoir with the story of his ancestors who lived on the land before the European contact. He tells of how their leader, Ahtahkakoop, was manipulated into signing treaties that were never kept. Thus begins the first of the lies. His mother was the caregiver as his father was away logging and trapping. Their lives were limited by the local White Indian Agent and federal laws. They were a poor family, but were happy. His grandfather, Moosum Alexan came to live with them, he bought Fred skates and they spent hours on the pond skating and learning to play hockey. Fred's father was a catholic, so in 1941, he and his younger brother were taken to St. Michael's Residential School. Fred was seven and his parents had no choice but to let the agents take the boys. Although Fred does not give a lot of details of what happened to him and his brother at the school, but St Michaels was more of a work colony than a school. He endured terrible abuses by priests and older boys. The boys were not allowed home until they acclimated, two years. Father Roussel, was a hockey fanatic and organized the boys into a team. This is where Fred continued to develop his hockey skills. To get out of the residential schools, he was "drafted" by Moose Jaw Canucks in the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League. He continued to develop as a player but he had scars and was not treated well. I am not going to tell you anymore about the story at this point, because it is important that you read this book. The rest of Fred's story follows his path to the NHL, his marriage, his path to become a mentor, but all is molded by his earlier treatment at St. Michael's. This book was published after Fred's death during the Covid Pandemic. He wrote this story with the support of his son and many hockey personalities. Fred was an excellent story teller, and it shows in this book. I was drawn in from the beginning and that interest didn't wane until the end. This is his personal story, but it is also the story of many Indigenous People. They may not have made it to the NHL, but they have had problems with addiction, depression, mental health, abuse etc. as a result of their earlier experiences. The ramifications of anti-Indigenous laws and racist attitudes of those in power are still having an effect today. I did a read/listen of this book which was a great way to experience Fred's story. Wilton Littlechild was a perfect narrator for this book and made it feel like I was listening to Fred Sasakamoose sharing his story with me. When I needed to double check anything, I was able to refer to the book and find what I was looking for. I recommend this book to all who are trying to understand and support reconciliation with our Indigenous People in North America. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rogers

    Extremely good book. Really well written and very strong storytelling. One of the best books I've read detailing the first-person trauma from inside the residential school system. There were some chapters that were extremely unsettling and hard for me to read. Really appreciate Fred's accounts and stories. This was a really powerful read. This book shows lots of courage, integrity, and honesty. Highly recommended for all. 4.8/5 Extremely good book. Really well written and very strong storytelling. One of the best books I've read detailing the first-person trauma from inside the residential school system. There were some chapters that were extremely unsettling and hard for me to read. Really appreciate Fred's accounts and stories. This was a really powerful read. This book shows lots of courage, integrity, and honesty. Highly recommended for all. 4.8/5

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tyler G

    Well written and Fred is a great story teller. Lots to take in, in a difficult live. Lived through a lot.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Rokas

    This book really moved me. Parts of it made me weep. This is a memoir of racism, resilience and rebellion. Saskamoose recounts his life from his poor, but happy childhood on the Sandy Lake reserve, though his being forcefully removed from his family and sent to residential school where his only joy was derived from playing hockey. He goes into his junior hockey days and being called up to the Chicago Blackhawks and his subsequent career. Saskamoose is very honest about his shortcomings as a fath This book really moved me. Parts of it made me weep. This is a memoir of racism, resilience and rebellion. Saskamoose recounts his life from his poor, but happy childhood on the Sandy Lake reserve, though his being forcefully removed from his family and sent to residential school where his only joy was derived from playing hockey. He goes into his junior hockey days and being called up to the Chicago Blackhawks and his subsequent career. Saskamoose is very honest about his shortcomings as a father and husband, temper and drinking. Saskamoose became very involved in promoting indigenous involvement in sports. He was also elected chief. Fred Saskamoose passed away from covid on November 24, 2020.

  8. 5 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    This book was on my list to read for May before the heartbreaking discovery of 215 Indigenous bodies at a former Kamloops residential school and reading it after learning this news just pulled at my heart even more. Not just another sports memoir (although it will be of interest to fans of Willie Orr - the first Black Canadian NHL player). Fred Sasakamoose wrote this memoir just before his death last fall due to complications from COVID-19 and in it he details his experience as a residential sch This book was on my list to read for May before the heartbreaking discovery of 215 Indigenous bodies at a former Kamloops residential school and reading it after learning this news just pulled at my heart even more. Not just another sports memoir (although it will be of interest to fans of Willie Orr - the first Black Canadian NHL player). Fred Sasakamoose wrote this memoir just before his death last fall due to complications from COVID-19 and in it he details his experience as a residential school survivor, including the ways that impacted him for the rest of his life. It is also a very honest story about his achievements in hockey as the first Treaty Indigenous player in the NHL and in politics as Band leader on his reserve as well as his shortcomings as a husband and father. This book was excellent on audio as it allows the listener to hear spoken Cree, adding an extra layer of depth to the story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly highly recommend this book to help recognize and try to understand the experiences of the people who have suffered centuries of institutional and intergenerational trauma. Favorite quotes: "As Indians we didn't even have the rights of Canadian citizens. We couldn't even own property or vote and we were poor, that's the truth, but I didn't know that. What I knew was that home was full of song, dance and tradition. It was full of wonder and mystery, it was full of family, love and community. And then one day in 1941, when I was just seven, all of that was taken away." "Mostly what we were taught was that our traditional ways of life, our traditional beliefs, were pagan, sinful. They were the ways of the devil and that our Cree language was backward." "I also knew they could never really understand what it was like. How one moment you could feel just like another guy on a team and the next you'd be reminded you were an outsider. How one word could shatter your sense of belonging, could remind you that others did not see you as an equal." "The names people might shout from the stands said more about them then they did about me. If they called me an Indian I didn't have to accept it as a slur...The label didn't matter. It was how people treated you that did."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marvin Bear

    Definitely recommend this autobiography. As someone who understood the trauma of Fred (both my parents and maternal/paternal grandparents attended Residential School). It is very important to release valuable stories and information concerning the ill-treatment of Indigenous children under the umbrella of the Residential School System. Glad Fred was able to share his story, and become a pillar of hope and resilience for survivors and young Indigenous people alike. Thank you for sharing your pers Definitely recommend this autobiography. As someone who understood the trauma of Fred (both my parents and maternal/paternal grandparents attended Residential School). It is very important to release valuable stories and information concerning the ill-treatment of Indigenous children under the umbrella of the Residential School System. Glad Fred was able to share his story, and become a pillar of hope and resilience for survivors and young Indigenous people alike. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences, losses, and triumphs. P.S. Really loved the inclusion and explanation of traditional Cree practices that were performed by Fred's grandfather and mother. Also, I heavily enjoyed the integration of structured Plains Cree sentences in place of English- at times, I would try to read them (given that I'm Woods Cree), but would end up reverting to the English rendition. Worth a try though!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Simon RIan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Was recommended this memoir by a friend of mine. My preconceived thoughts pertaining to the story were worrisome- I wasn't a sports fan, so I wasn't too sure how I'd react to the book. Yet, when I finally decided to read it, I became so enthralled by Freddie's story that I found myself having to take breaks between chapters in digesting what I've just read. From his earlier chapters describing his family history, the relationship with his mute & deaf grandfather (moosum) Alexan, the horrifying e Was recommended this memoir by a friend of mine. My preconceived thoughts pertaining to the story were worrisome- I wasn't a sports fan, so I wasn't too sure how I'd react to the book. Yet, when I finally decided to read it, I became so enthralled by Freddie's story that I found myself having to take breaks between chapters in digesting what I've just read. From his earlier chapters describing his family history, the relationship with his mute & deaf grandfather (moosum) Alexan, the horrifying experiences he endured at Residential School, and unto the present day where he watches footage of his younger self playing for Chicago- I was heavily invested! This book isn't just a sports story. It's the story of trauma, sadness, and resilience. Would definitely recommend this!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Vance

    This was an exceptional book, written in a conversational style, and so interesting on many fronts. The author wanted to tell the whole story, good and bad, and was honest about his own failings while gracious of others. A sadness ran throughout the book, about how he and other children were taken from their homes (described so clearly here) and how it affected them the rest of their lives. However the author’s descriptions of how his love of his home and family sustained him while he tried to e This was an exceptional book, written in a conversational style, and so interesting on many fronts. The author wanted to tell the whole story, good and bad, and was honest about his own failings while gracious of others. A sadness ran throughout the book, about how he and other children were taken from their homes (described so clearly here) and how it affected them the rest of their lives. However the author’s descriptions of how his love of his home and family sustained him while he tried to excel in hockey to make his and their lives better, was truly heart rending.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I’ve been hearing about Fred Sasakamoose for much of my life. It’s kind of nice to read a biography set right here in Saskatchewan, filled with familiar places. I don’t often get a chance to do that. I’m not indigenous, but I still feel like he’s one of our own. I’ve known about the residential schools and the horrors that went on in them for years, but this book has actually given me a greater sense of why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was necessary. Fred had spent much of his life not I’ve been hearing about Fred Sasakamoose for much of my life. It’s kind of nice to read a biography set right here in Saskatchewan, filled with familiar places. I don’t often get a chance to do that. I’m not indigenous, but I still feel like he’s one of our own. I’ve known about the residential schools and the horrors that went on in them for years, but this book has actually given me a greater sense of why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was necessary. Fred had spent much of his life not telling anybody about the horrors he’d experienced there, and he wasn’t the only one. Much like soldiers who returned from war, unable to speak of their horrific experiences, these people needed a safe place where they could tell the world what happened without fear or shame, to go on record so we can all know the truth. This is a wonderful, sincere, and honest autobiography. It’s more than just a hockey story; it’s a life. Fred pulls no punches and tells it like it was, his joys and sorrows. The challenges of being indigenous in a white man’s world, a white man’s sport. Still, there’s no bitterness here. He makes no attempt to gloss over his own mistakes and flaws. The story is made all the more bittersweet because we lost him to Covid-19 even as this book was being prepared for publication. Rest in peace, Fred. Thank you for this. This one is a keeper.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wendell Hennan

    I am not a big hockey fan but many of the names were so familiar to me and I was able to read Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese that was loosely based on the life of Fred Sasakamoose. While he deals with his Residential School experiences, he does so with honesty but sparing brutal details. He continued to live a full life together with his wife of 66 years and celebrate the lives of his 9 children, 51 grandchildren,88 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. However, I just read on W I am not a big hockey fan but many of the names were so familiar to me and I was able to read Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese that was loosely based on the life of Fred Sasakamoose. While he deals with his Residential School experiences, he does so with honesty but sparing brutal details. He continued to live a full life together with his wife of 66 years and celebrate the lives of his 9 children, 51 grandchildren,88 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. However, I just read on Wikepedia that Fred was diagnosed with Covid19 on November 20, 2020 and died four days later. So very well written with a wealth of wisdom some of which he learned too late. A thoroughly spell binding read that should become part of the Canadian School cirriculum.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ainsley

    Really enjoyed this book, considering I don’t like sports. It gave readers insight into residential schools and life under the Indian Act. If you find the first chapters hard to read with all of the history, keep going as it provides good context for later on. Some parts were quite emotional to read. I found reading about his hockey career enjoyable and easy to understand. I’d love to meet him one day! He’s led a very interesting life and seems to have made a great impact.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Coleen Meyer

    This one feels like a game changer for me… yet it’s hard to put into words why I could not put it down! I’m grateful this book gave me the opportunity to educate myself on things I certainly need to continue to read about. (To give some extra info, If you are not a hockey person, a big part of this book may not appeal to you)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily Princi

    This was really well done. I think it touched on a lot of difficult topics while also providing information on Sasakamoose’s life. I am not a typical fan of memoirs, but this didn’t feel overly memoir-like. Learned about someone who I didn’t know anything about and gained hockey knowledge. I also really enjoyed the colour photographs that were included.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    The autobiography is thorough and informative, though I found the writing choppy so was glad to have an ALC from Libro.fm to listen to it instead.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katheryn Haskell

    This book was phenomenal. I spent the entire time feeling like Fred was telling the story straight to me, like I knew him. You can tell how genuine of a human he was just be reading this. It's always heart breaking to hear of everything the Indigenous people of this country have suffered through, but it is also refreshing to see when any of them turn it around or find a positive outlet like he did. RIP Fred Sasakamoose. What a phenomenal human. This book was phenomenal. I spent the entire time feeling like Fred was telling the story straight to me, like I knew him. You can tell how genuine of a human he was just be reading this. It's always heart breaking to hear of everything the Indigenous people of this country have suffered through, but it is also refreshing to see when any of them turn it around or find a positive outlet like he did. RIP Fred Sasakamoose. What a phenomenal human.

  19. 5 out of 5

    cecil

    this book is a must-read for any hockey fan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Clarke

    Perfect timing of this book to educate the uneducated (myself) about the residential school system from someone who was there. I am not a hard core hockey fan but the achievements of this man are actually understated. Thank you for the honest account. A must read for EVERY Canadian.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player is an autobiography memoir written by Fred Sasakamoose with Meg Masters with a forward by Bryan Trottier. It chronicles the late Sasakamoose searing reflection on his life. Frederick "Fred" Sasakamoose was a Canadian professional ice hockey player. He was one of the first Canadian Indigenous players in the National Hockey League, and the first First Nations player with treaty status. After h Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player is an autobiography memoir written by Fred Sasakamoose with Meg Masters with a forward by Bryan Trottier. It chronicles the late Sasakamoose searing reflection on his life. Frederick "Fred" Sasakamoose was a Canadian professional ice hockey player. He was one of the first Canadian Indigenous players in the National Hockey League, and the first First Nations player with treaty status. After his playing career, Sasakamoose became involved in Indigenous affairs, and served as chief of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation for a period. Born in Saskatchewan to a Cree family, he was introduced to hockey by his grandfather with a frozen cow patty for a puck. His life was irrevocably altered when he was sent to St. Michael's Residential School, where meager meals and horrific accommodations were coupled with relentless cruelty from sadistic priests and racist classmates, who also raped him. In spite of this harrowing experience, Sasakamoose made a name for himself in junior hockey circles and landed a contract with the Black Hawks in 1954, playing 12 games in the NHL. After a short stint in Chicago, he returned to the minor leagues in Canada to focus on his family, but his alcoholism was a constant struggle and worsened later when he lost his daughter to a car accident and his son to suicide. Even still, Sasakamoose never stopped trying to improve his community, working as a councillor for the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. Before he died, Sasakamoose vowed to convey the heartache and darkness to help others to see that they are not alone. Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player is written rather well. Sasakamoose goes beyond the story of his NHL career, brief as it may be, but it is a groundbreaking memoir shedding piercing light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows this extraordinary man's journey to reclaim pride in an identity and a heritage that had previously been used against him. All in all, Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player is not only an excellent memoir about the first Indian hockey player with treaty status in the National Hockey League, but as importantly, it is also the most moving and plain-spoken account to date, from the inside, of the Indigenous experience in the racist white world.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This book is a very timely book, given the current state of affairs. I saw a promo about it and thought that in light of the recent news items about Kamloops residential school findings of a mass grave of 215 that this book might give me some insight to the experience of residential schools and the impact that it has/had on our Aboriginal Canadian neighbors. At the end of the book, Fred says that he had once been contacted by a newspaper to do a story on him and they wanted " a happy story". His This book is a very timely book, given the current state of affairs. I saw a promo about it and thought that in light of the recent news items about Kamloops residential school findings of a mass grave of 215 that this book might give me some insight to the experience of residential schools and the impact that it has/had on our Aboriginal Canadian neighbors. At the end of the book, Fred says that he had once been contacted by a newspaper to do a story on him and they wanted " a happy story". His reply was that these people obviously didn't understand the experience of his People. While one might think that this story told by Fred Sasakamoose would tell you one about triumph over a traumatic life in Residential Schools and the struggle to overcome and find success as a Professional Hockey player, this is not that story. This is the story of a man who struggled to come to terms with living as an Indigenous who managed to climb the ranks and play on a professional Hockey team for a season. His own struggles related to the trauma of his experience in the Residential School and how he survived and tried to find meaning is what we hear from Fred. Taken from his family at the age of 7 and forced to attend a Residential School for most of his childhood, Fred tells us that he always fought to get back home. That it took a long time to feel that he had come home, that he had found a place with his People, and that he found a way to quietly build his Indigenous families and neighbors back up to a place of strength and resiliency through the only source of refuge that he could find while at Residential School; hockey. Fred went on to detail the highs and lows of his life, and took an honest look at his life; failures and successes, his joys and sadness - to find meaning in a life that ended shortly before the publication of this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    "It's a great privilege to be asked to share your story with the world. And when you have that opportunity, it's important to convey the heartache, the mistakes, the darkness. Perhaps it may help others to see that they are not alone. If nothing else, it's honest." Fred Sasakamoose tells his story in an honest straightforward way. He talks about the trauma and hard things but also his blessings. He hoped his story would give non-Indigenous readers a better understanding of the hurdles Indigenous "It's a great privilege to be asked to share your story with the world. And when you have that opportunity, it's important to convey the heartache, the mistakes, the darkness. Perhaps it may help others to see that they are not alone. If nothing else, it's honest." Fred Sasakamoose tells his story in an honest straightforward way. He talks about the trauma and hard things but also his blessings. He hoped his story would give non-Indigenous readers a better understanding of the hurdles Indigenous people have to overcome to succeed and remind Indigenous readers they can make this world better by being proud of who they are and where they come from. Unfortunately, Fred died in November 2020 of complications from Covid19. He had just finished the final edits of his story. His story is worth reading and he is worth being remembered as a proud Cree man.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nik von Schulmann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As I read this memoir I was amazed how similar it was to Richard Wagamese's "Indian Horse" only very late in the book did I discover that book was based on Fred Saskamoose. This is another important look back at the horrors of the residential school system and the manner in which the First Nations have been treated in Canada. His life certainly had many difficulties but also some amazing high moments and unbelievably he had 151 kid, grandkids, great-grandkids and great-great grandkids. He lived As I read this memoir I was amazed how similar it was to Richard Wagamese's "Indian Horse" only very late in the book did I discover that book was based on Fred Saskamoose. This is another important look back at the horrors of the residential school system and the manner in which the First Nations have been treated in Canada. His life certainly had many difficulties but also some amazing high moments and unbelievably he had 151 kid, grandkids, great-grandkids and great-great grandkids. He lived an amazing life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

    This summer I decided to tie my summer reading list to a new professional goal of improving my teaching and learning about Indian Residential Schools and Indigenous life, experience and history in Canada. Fred Sasakamoose’s book Call Me Indian was a great place to start. It ties my love of hockey and biographies together with this learning goal. If you’re looking to learn more about the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada, and enjoy a good hockey memoir, this one is a tough, but great rea This summer I decided to tie my summer reading list to a new professional goal of improving my teaching and learning about Indian Residential Schools and Indigenous life, experience and history in Canada. Fred Sasakamoose’s book Call Me Indian was a great place to start. It ties my love of hockey and biographies together with this learning goal. If you’re looking to learn more about the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada, and enjoy a good hockey memoir, this one is a tough, but great read. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This was a very personal account of an amazing life. He was very honest about both the good and the bad, and I’m very sure some of these were difficult stories to recount and in doing so, live through them again. I appreciate the author’s honesty. I listened to the audiobook. I continue to learn about the experiences of Indigenous People and their stories in this country that I had always been so proud of. So much more to learn. So much more to do.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dave Cottenie

    An inspiring, yet somber look at the life of Fred Sasakamoose, the first Indigenous player in the NHL. An interesting look at the term Indian is given at the beginning of the memoir and why Fred is okay, if not proud, of being referred to as an Indian. A very relevant and timely book due to the spotlight on Residential Schools and Sasakamoose’s experiences at St. Michael’s are both shocking and sad. The audio version is embellished with a narrator who could easily pronounce the Cree words which An inspiring, yet somber look at the life of Fred Sasakamoose, the first Indigenous player in the NHL. An interesting look at the term Indian is given at the beginning of the memoir and why Fred is okay, if not proud, of being referred to as an Indian. A very relevant and timely book due to the spotlight on Residential Schools and Sasakamoose’s experiences at St. Michael’s are both shocking and sad. The audio version is embellished with a narrator who could easily pronounce the Cree words which are used throughout, to give it a more authentic feel. A story that needed to be told and needs to be read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Young

    I am very glad that Fred Sasakamoose wrote this book. I remember when he played for Chicago and couldn’t help wondering why he wasn’t playing for Montreal or Toronto. This is a book about not letting your past define you. It reminds us, once again, of our tragic history of Residential Schools which can never be repeated. It’s time for us to move forward on all the Calls to Action.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I had been looking for a book that tells a non-fictionalized residential school experience and got it in this book. As an added bonus, I also got to learn about the struggles of getting into the NHL and life after all of it. I enjoyed Fred's telling of his life, though it got a bit rambly at the end. I was sad to learn that he passed away from COVID-19 before the book was published. I had been looking for a book that tells a non-fictionalized residential school experience and got it in this book. As an added bonus, I also got to learn about the struggles of getting into the NHL and life after all of it. I enjoyed Fred's telling of his life, though it got a bit rambly at the end. I was sad to learn that he passed away from COVID-19 before the book was published.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John

    To put it bluntly this book is a must read. Fred is direct and to the point on some huge problems in his life. Some of his own making and others forced on him. The good the bad. How he regrets some of thinks he did but has come to terms with the past. It’s not just a hockey book it’s about his life.

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