York University Alumni
York alum Jesse Thistle (BA 2015, History) and past President of the Aboriginal Students Association at York, a Métis-Cree from Saskatchewan, has been studying trauma memory within the Métis and Cree people of Northern Saskatchewan and the northern Great Plains. After taking Indigenous history courses at York University and now pursuing a MA at the University of Waterloo, he was led back to his own family’s history and reunited with his mother, who let him and his brothers go when he was three. He presented a paper on the impacts of the May 1885 Battle of Batoche, in which ten of his ancestors fought and lost against the Canadian authorities. His paper opened a new field of historical research in the field of Métis studies.
As Thistle collected more stories of family members and elders, he could see the pain that was present in everyone he interviewed and soon saw the impact it had on his own wellbeing. This realization has led him to rethink how research on trauma affects researchers in very deep and profound ways and encourage researchers to develop strategies to cope with trauma.