A revelatory portrait of eight Indigenous communities from across North America, shown through never-before-published archival photographs--a gorgeous extension of Paul Seesequasis's popular social media project.
In 2015, writer and journalist Paul Seesequasis found himself grappling with the devastating findings of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on the residential school system. He sought understanding and inspiration in the stories of his mother, herself a residential school survivor. Gradually, Paul realized that another, mostly untold history existed alongside the official one: that of how Indigenous peoples and communities had held together during even the most difficult times. He embarked on a social media project to collect archival photos capturing everyday life in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities from the 1920s through the 1970s. As he scoured archives and libraries, Paul uncovered a trove of candid images and began to post these on social media, where they sparked an extraordinary reaction. Friends and relatives of the individuals in the photographs commented online, and through this dialogue, rich histories came to light for the first time.
Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun collects some of the most arresting images and stories from Paul's project. While many of the photographs live in public archives, most have never been shown to the people in the communities they represent. As such, Blanket Toss is not only an invaluable historical record, it is a meaningful act of reclamation, showing the ongoing resilience of Indigenous communities, past, present--and future.
PAUL SEESEQUASIS is a nîpisîhkopâwiyiniw (Willow Cree) writer, journalist, cultural advocate and commentator currently residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Since 2015, he has curated the Indigenous Archival Photo Project, an online and physical exhibition of archival Indigenous photographs that explores history, identity and the process of visual reclamation. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Brick and Granta magazines, among others. He has been active in the Indigenous arts, both as an artist and a policy maker, since the 1990s.
“A revelatory work of astonishing grace, Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun encapsulates an invisible generation brought to glorious life. So many times, the subject could have been my auntie, cousin or grandmother. When people ask why I live on the rez, I’ll point them to this book, this stunning reclamation of narrative, which so movingly shows the love of place, community and self.” —Eden Robinson
“Paul Seesequasis's Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun is a wonderful collection of found photographs and recovered histories that link us to a past as old as the land and as precious as breath.” —Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian