Jesse is a Métis-Cree-Scot Ph.D. Candidate in the History program at York University in Toronto. He also teaches there as an assistant professor (probationary lecturer) where he is working on theories of intergenerational and historic trauma of the Métis people. This work, which involves reflections on his own previous struggles with addiction and homelessness, has been recognized as having a wide impact on both the scholarly community and the greater public. He has written a memoir, From the Ashes, published by Simon and Schuster, and a book of poems, Scars & Stars, published by Penguin Random House Canada.
Visit Jesse’s website.
From the publisher:
From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.
Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.
In this heart-warming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.
“A memoir of resilience, spirit and dignity from a gifted storyteller. It is, at heart, also about the many shapes that love can inhabit. When you plan to read this book, clear your schedule. It will hold you in its grasp and won’t let you go, like a great novel.”Shelagh Rogers, CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, Honorary Witness, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
“In spare and often brutal prose . . . Thistle weaves a narrative punctuated with joy and comedy and ultimately redemption.”Toronto Star
“Candid and cutting, Jesse Thistle lays down his story with a brutal beauty you’ll never forget. From the Ashes is a guided tour through a broken heart just trying to keep beating, both failing and succeeding spectacularly.”Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves