Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice
But I also remember the Sunday ritual, when he would worship the Christian god.
Rather than hold his head high in pride as he did when he spoke of the rain dance, he
hung his head as he entered the house of worship” (Acoose 84). This recall’s Piapot’s
advice to his grandson in And Did the Dog See This? where he wryly suggests to live
“half Christian and half Indian, so when you die, you'll only be half wrong.”
Paul Acoose’s spirituality and his need to be near his family led to his abrupt
departure from professional running. Acoose retired after defeating Tom Longboat,
whom Janice calls “his kindred spirit, the Onondaga Indian from the Six Nations
Reserve in Ontario” (Studio One 91). Acoose wanted to return home to Saskatchewan
and stay there. In the script he says, “(firmly) I want to go home. I’m tired of running
in circles” (Studio One 93). The isolation Acoose experienced on the professional
running circuit was acute enough to make retiring his only choice. Paul left the paternal
world of competitive running where individual triumph is the pinnacle of achievement.
He left before it broke him physically and spiritually. He chose instead to return,
healthy, to the more relational world of his wife, family, and community. By returning
home, Acoose achieved what Beaupré, in The Giant Who Wept, could only dream of
Paul Acoose was a man who experienced two worlds and running was his
connection to both. Paul Acoose recalls his father, Old Paul Acoose, introducing him to
running on the open prairie. Old Paul, and his father Quewich gained renown for their
running feats hunting buffalo and elk. Paul Acoose gained renown by winning races.
When Janice runs, it brings her a better understanding of who her grandfather was. She
realizes that, “Because of all the running, my legs were numb and my feet felt as though