Carrying It Forward: Essays from Kistahpinânihk
John Brady McDonald
November 22, 2022
236 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-59-6
**Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction**
John Brady McDonald has lived in Kistahpinânihk, an area that includes Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, for nearly all his life. A member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and a grandson of Métis leader Jim Brady, John has worked to move carefully between these two nations – to learn their stories, honour their traditions and reclaim their languages, all of which were nearly lost to him. In this wide-ranging collection he looks at everything from his experience of residential school to northern firefighting to his time in the United Kingdom, where he “discovered” and “claimed” the island for the First Peoples of the Americas. In these compelling essays, John pulls us deep into the life he has lived in Kistahpinânihk and asks us to consider what life could be like in a New North Territory.
“Authentic and illuminating, Carrying It Forward is a candid and comprehensive account of the complexity of modern Indigenous life in Canada. John Brady McDonald’s compelling life stories are both unique and relatable. Through heartfelt honesty, he carefully and considerately invites the reader into his circle. It was a pleasure and an honour to get to know him through his powerful words. This collection is a vibrant showcase of the rich humanity that still thrives in Indigenous nations across Turtle Island.” – Waubgeshig Rice, author of Moon of the Crusted Snow
“John Brady McDonald’s Carrying It Forward is a gift to the future, documenting with searing honesty and funny precision what it is like to be a Cree artist, activist and survivor while envisioning what justice and reconciliation can and should be. From northern Saskatchewan to the United Kingdom, McDonald’s keen eye to detail and rich poetic descriptions forge place and time into surprising new homes built by love and fortified by truth. McDonald is a writer everyone should read now, here, today to make this place better.” – Niigaan Sinclair, columnist, Winnipeg Free Press
Carrying It Forward: Essays from Kistahpinânihk (Colette Poitras, Quill & Quire, January 2023)
"The book is blunt, powerful, honest and heartbreaking, profound yet humorous. As an Indigenous person, I see my own experiences reflected in his words and read the entire book in one sitting. McDonald demonstrates Indigenous wisdom, resistance, and resilience on every page."
Carrying It Forward: Essays from Kistahpinanihk by John Brady McDonald (Anne Smith-Nochasak, Miramichi Reader, 13/11/2022)
"This book is a call to action. It is vivid and intense, and a compelling read."
Liem, McDonald, & Hernández-Ramdwar: 3 WOTS Guest Authors on What They're Reading at the Festival & Why (Open Book, 25/05/2023)
"I chose [to read 'Not THAT John A.'] as it addresses some of the way humour was used to unsuccessfully mask the trauma of being a Residential School survivor who once carried the name of the man responsible for the genocide of my people, and the journey to face up to the possibility of changing such a fundamental aspect of who I was at a critical point in history."
Episode 201 - John Brady McDonald (Dennis Rimmer, Talking Books and Stuff, 24/03/2023)
John Brady McDonald joins Dennis Rimmer to talk about Carrying It Forward.
E330 with JOHN BRADY MCDONALD (Jamie Tennant, Get Lit, 16/03/2023)
Jamie Tennant interviews John Brady McDonald.
John shares a list of recommended reading (Open Book, 07/12/2022)
John offers some unexpected facts about himself as part of Open Book's "Dirty Dozen" challenge.
15 Reads for National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023 (All Lit Up, 21/06/2023)
It's lovely to see Carrying it Forward in this wonderful list of books for Indigenous Peoples Day.
An Awkward Coffee Break (Gay & Lesbian Review, 26/05/2023)
A great piece from John Brady McDonald that's just perfect for the run up to Pride.
Queer Coded: 2023 LAMBDA Literary Award Finalists (All Lit Up, 29/03/2023)
A showcase of the finalists for the 2023 LAMBDA Literary Awards.
5 LGBTQ+ Books To Add To Your Winter 2022 Reading List (Sienna Vittoria Asselin, IN Magazine, 12/12/2022)
John's book is included in this LGBTQ+ roundup.
Top 22 of '22: Our Books of the Year (49th Shelf, 12/12/2022)
49th Shelf chooses John's book as one of their best of 2022!
Much Like Family: The Indigenous Literary Community (John Brady McDonald, 49th Shelf, 28/11/2022)
John shares a list of recommended reading.
What We're Reading: Staff Writer Picks, Fall 2022 (Hamilton Review of Books, 23/09/2022)
John's memoir makes this wonderful list!
Top 10: Memoir Picks (Tahmina Afshar, All Lit Up, 31/08/2022)
John's memoir is part of this great roundup!
About the Author
John Brady McDonald is a Nêhiyawak-Métis writer, artist, historian, musician, playwright, actor and activist born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He is from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the Mistawasis Nêhiyawak. He is the author of several books, and his written works have been published and presented around the globe. He is also an acclaimed public speaker, who has presented in venues across the globe, such as the Ânskohk Aboriginal Literature Festival, the Black Hills Seminars on Reclaiming Youth, the Appalachian Mountain Seminars, the Edmonton and Fort McMurray Literary Festival, the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival and the Ottawa International Writers Festival. A noted polymath, John lives in Northern Saskatchewan.