Books·Canadian

From the Ashes

From the Ashes is a memoir by Jesse Thistle.

Jesse Thistle

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.

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. (From Simon & Schuster)

Jesse Thistle is a Métis-Cree academic and recipient of the Governor General's Silver Medal in 2016. He is also a Trudeau and Vanier Scholar. From the Ashes is his first book.

Interviews with Jesse Thistle

He was homeless... in and out of jail, and addicted to drugs. But these days - perseverance is paying off for Jesse Thistle. He's celebrating his graduation from York University. Nil Koksal introduces us. 3:08
Confronting Métis trauma: Jesse Thistle's story 1:02
Jesse Thistle talks to Shelagh Rogers about his best selling memoir, From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way. 16:27
After years of searching for her son, Jesse Thistle's mom finds him in a rehab facility. 1:30
Jesse Thistle is a scholar of the topic of Indigenous homelessness. He's a PhD student at York University, and is both a Trudeau and Vanier Scholar. He's also a former homeless man himself -- and he wrote a definition of "Indigenous homelessness" that talks about the loss of connection to land and kin. 7:00
Peel Regional Police are asking for tips in a decades-old missing person investigation. Cyril Thistle was last seen in 1981. Jesse Thistle, spoke about his efforts to locate his father with Reshmi Nair. 7:03
After the Métis were dispossessed of their land through the scrip process, many ended up squatting on small sections of land along the sides of roads and railway lines. 8:47

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