An award-winning local author John Brady McDonald shares his winnings with the Stepping Stones Shelter in Prince Albert.
John Brady McDonald is a Nêhiyawak-Métis writer and artist born in Prince Albert. He is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and is the grandson of Jim Brady.

McDonald created the book Carrying It Forward: Essays From Kistahpinânihk, from essays he wrote during the pandemic. The essays reflect on his experiences: as an Indigenous person in the 21st century, in residential school, growing up in Prince Albert, regaining culture after residential school, and lessons he learned from his elders.

During the Saskatchewan Book Awards (SBA), McDonald was presented with the best Non-fiction Book Award and the Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award. It was at the SBA gala when an idea came to him.

“So, when I found out I won the Indigenous Peoples’ Writing award I decided on my way to the stage that if there was award money for this, I would donate it to the shelter in PA,” said John Brady McDonald.

McDonald is grateful for the SBA’s award and recognition for his book, and he is using his platform to help raise awareness about the unhoused crisis Prince Albert faces.

“With all this glamour, the wonderful room we were sitting in, the wonderful food we were eating, the entertainment, and the ambiance in the room. I couldn’t help but think I’m sitting here in this room surrounded by all this splendor because I wrote about the city of Prince Albert,” explained McDonald. “While people I know, people I grew up with are sitting on the streets of PA or sitting in alley ways under blankets with shopping carts, are being stepped over, and are thought of as less than human and as a problem that needs to be delt with, and not as human beings.”

He is using his words and his voice to help advocate for those in need.

“When someone stumbles, we help them up, we don’t leave a person behind and what I am hoping is that the donation, is that other people will remember that those are our community members and that’s our family. Those are family members out there and they are not out there by choice, circumstances and luck bad or good, led them to where they are and there is a need to help them,” says McDonald. “They are not a problem they are people who need help.”
He challenges others to act.

“If you are able to help someone out in that situation, however you can, help that person out. If you have a few extra cans of food in your pantry, if you have a few extra bucks that you can spare, if you have a few extra minutes in your day: volunteer,” said McDonald.

The donation was accepted by Stepping Stones Shelter and the money will be put towards food and any basic necessities they need.

The Stepping Stones Shelter offers shelter and services to individuals who are unhoused. To learn more about the Stepping Stones Shelter, visit

If you are interested in his book, Carrying It Forward: Essays from Kistahpinânihk, it can be found at Turning the Tide Book Store in Saskatoon and from GoodMinds.

(Photo credit Genelle Amber Photography)