Lessons Learned reading “From the Ashes: My Story of being Métis, Homeless and Finding My Way” by Jesse Thistle

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News2021 | 09 | 28

Lessons Learned reading "From the Ashes: My Story of being Métis, Homeless and Finding My Way" by Jesse Thistle

I heartily recommend this book to everyone.  This autobiography chronicles how Professor Thistle, a Métis-Cree-Scot from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, born in 1976, survives to be able to write this remarkable book.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Métis Studies at York University in Toronto.  He won the Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016 and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Scholar and a Vanier Scholar.

I think that this is a wonderful book to develop an understanding of homelessness.  I also think it is a great window into seeing the complex family dynamics of love, hurt, betrayal, dedication, and connection, that are present in many families.

The prose is easily read; the content less so. It covers poverty, abandonment, intergenerational trauma, addiction, interactions with the criminal justice system and the bureaucracy involved in trying to get medical assistance.  It encompasses not only the stories of heartbreaking indifference and cruelty he faced, but also acts of kindness he received at critical points in his life.

I found it extremely helpful to remember the ending, which demonstrates resilience.  In fact, in reading the book, I flipped back and forth to keep this end result in mind.

I really hope you get as much as I have out of reading this book.


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Patricia Lane, Q.C.
Patricia C. Lane, Q.C.
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