Jesse Thistle Joins The Artist Ambassador Program As Our First Author

In 2016 Jesse Thistle, a Metis-Cree bestselling author, had the honour of meeting Gord Downie by chance one night in Toronto. Jesse was able to share with Gord the wonderful work he was doing at the time around intergenerational trauma.

He remembers talking to Gord, “I thanked him for the work that he was doing on reconciliation and for making the nation aware of residential schools and Indigenous history, and that these issues now had more focus because of his efforts. He thanked me for the work that I was doing on intergenerational trauma and Métis History. He also said he was doing his best and he knows he might get some things wrong, but he’s trying and that’s what counts.”

Jesse, a Vanier and Pierre Elliot Trudeau Scholar and PhD candidate, continues his work in Indigenous homelessness, addiction and inter-generational trauma. His latest book From the Ashes was voted as one of the best books of 2019.

We are honoured to have Jesse join our Artist Ambassador program, visiting schools and continuing Gord’s work calling on all of us to “Do Something”. The Legacy Schools High School Artist Ambassador program brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians and other artists like Jesse into high schools across Canada to inspire student leadership and forward the journey of reconciliation in school communities.

Artists share their art, music and stories through workshops and/or performances, and engage students in learning and conversations about reconciliation. High schools hosting Artist Ambassadors are also encouraged to have students share their own stories, art, and reconciliACTIONs with their guests.


This year we will be organizing 17 visits with schools throughout Canada. Last year seven schools took part in our pilot program and enjoyed visits from:

Adrian Sutherland of Midnight Shine – Humberside C.I. – Toronto, ON

Angela Miracle Gladue (Dancer, A Tribe Called Red) – Peterborough Alternative Education Centre (PACE) – Peterborough, ON

Arkells – St. Francis Xavier Catholic School – Ottawa

DJ KooKum – G.P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay, British Columbia

Josh Finlayson of Skydiggers – Montessori School – Dundas, ON

July Talk, North Vancouver District School Board, Vancouver, B.C.

Tyler Shaw – Sir Fredrick Banting Secondary School – London, ON

Above: The Arkells are given a tour of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School by student leaders in Ottawa during the pilot program in 2018-2019.  

If you are interested in having Jesse visit your school please sign up for the artist ambassador program here.

Classes that request a visit from an author will be required to read the author’s work prior to a visit. Jesse’s new book From the Ashes is available at bookstores everywhere! Legacy School educators receive a 10% discount from