Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree and an Assistant Professor at York University in Toronto. He is a PhD candidate in the History program at York where he is working on theories of intergenerational and historic trauma of the Métis people. Jesse has won the P.E. Trudeau and Vanier doctoral scholarships, and he is a governor general medalist. Jesse is the author of the Definition of Indigenous Homelessness in Canada published through the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, and his historical research has been published in numerous academic journals, book chapters, and featured on CBC Ideas, CBC Campus, and Unreserved.

His memoir, From the Ashes, is a #1 national bestseller, a CBC Canada Reads finalist, winner of the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Nonfiction, an Indigenous Voices Award winner, a finalist for the High Plains Book Award, and an Indigo Best Book of 2019.


Jesse Thistle speaks on many issues surrounding mental health and addiction, homelessness, Métis history, empowerment and personal transformation.

How to Stay Positive:
Since rehab, hardcore addiction, and homelessness, Thistle’s rise in academia to a better life followed three basic premises: setting mini, achievable goals; managing time; and following his passion. They centre on the importance of consistent habits over time. In micro-goals and achievements grows confidence, self-worth, and, most importantly self-love, which then translates into being positive and loving the world around you. Like a domino effect into a more hopeful and happy life.

From the Ashes: my story of being Métis, homeless and finding my way 
This lecture is an autobiographical keynote which explores themes from his debut memoir, From the Ashes. He reflects on his story, one that recounts trauma, addiction, and homelessness. Through his remarks, audiences will learn a deeper story of hope and resilience, one that will stick with them for days after.