Book Review: Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun by Paul Seesequasis

Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun – Paul Seesequasis (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2019)

Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun is the culmination of Paul Seesequasis’ work to collect photos of Indigenous communities across Canada. The photos are taken by a variety of photographers, some Indigenous and some not, in a variety of places and times. Most of the photos are from the mid-20th century, the 1950s to 1970s. The purpose of Seesequasis’ book, which started as an online project, is to share everyday life of Indigenous peoples.

The book is full of unposed, candid photos. Often it is clear that these communities are on the cusp of major changes. Communities that have relied on dog sled may be adopting the use of snow mobiles. Nomadic groups may be staying put for a variety of economic and educational reasons. Pictures are accompanied by an extensive write-up where Seesequasis shares the stories of people who lived and visited these communities in the relevant time period. There are stories of individuals, of art co-ops, and of adventures and mishaps. They are funny and poignant and compelling.

This is a lovely collection and an important look into the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun by Paul Seesequasis”

    1. Is that Humans of New York? I do checking in on his stories on-line sometimes. There is something compelling about getting a glimpse at someone else’s interior life. In this book I definitely most enjoyed the photos that seemed to show people in their everyday lives rather than the more staged ones.

  1. I love candid ordinary people photos – they really can tell more than the clichéd thousand words. And especially good to capture a society just before it changes irrevocably.

    1. Yea, absolutely! These communities still exist but a lot of their traditional ways have been lost, even in just a generation or two.

  2. What a lovely idea. I had heard of this book coming back in 2019 but I mistakenly thought it was a work of fiction! We need more photographs of Indigenous communities, I think it goes a long way in bridging the understanding between us all.

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