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Remind Me

An Evening with Jesse Thistle

Saturday Oct 19 2019 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium

In conversation with Rosanna Deerchild and signing From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way (Simon & Schuster). Co-presented by the Winnipeg International Writers Festival as part of their Voices in the Circle initiative celebrating Indigenous writing in Canada.

In this debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

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, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, 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. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.

Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He is an assistant professor in Métis Studies at York University in Toronto. He won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016, and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar. He lives in Toronto. Visit him on Twitter.

Host Rosanna Deerchild has been storytelling for more than 20 years. As the host of CBC Radio One’s Unreserved, she shares Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. As a poet, she has published two books. this is a small northern town won the 2009 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. calling down the sky is her mother’s Residential School survivor story and has been translated into Cree and French. She is Cree from O-Pipon-Na-Piwan Cree Nation at South Indian Lake in northern Manitoba. Rosanna now lives in her found home of North End, Winnipeg.

See:

From the Ashes

- by Jesse Thistle

Trade paperback $24.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $22.49

*Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction
*Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards

*Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
*Finalist, High Plains Book Awards
*A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
*An Indigo Book of the Year
*A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year


In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute...then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

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 heartwarming 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.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.