1938 Yellowknife’s Daughters of the Midnight Sun

On November 11th, 1938 Yellowknife’s (see map)first “women only” social organization, the Daughters of the Midnight Sun (DMS), was formed. They adopted the motto “To contribute to the betterment of the community and to enjoy friendship with each other having no regard to racial, religious or political prejudices.”

On the 10th anniversary of DMS Yellowknife’s News of the North wrote that “the women were busy … they bought books for the newly organized school, sponsored dances and socials, purchased medicine, food and clothing for needy cases, planned their first mid-night banquet on the longest day of the year, gave surprise parties, held Hallow’en masquerades, donated to the Red Cross, sent gifts to the local boys in uniform during the war, started the town’s first lending library …[and] … contributed to the school-building fund”. And that was just their first ten years!

DMS social events and the sale of their famous cookbooks raised funds for many different projects over the years and while one of its stated goals was to make Yellowknife a better place it also allowed Yellowknife women, faced with the prospect of life in an isolated far-northern mining town, the perfect means to meet and socialize.

The highlight of each year, and the origin of this organization’s unusual name, was “the annual banquet and party held at midnight of June twenty-first, when the Daughters of the Midnight Sun leave their husbands at home and have fun on their own!”

As Yellowknife grew and developed, in part because of the selfless work of the Daughters, there became less of a need for an organization like DMS. Women had many other choices for social activities and by the early 1980s membership in DMS, which had once peaked at 90, had dwindled to only 25.

The final meeting of the Daughters of the Midnight Sun was held in 1985. In a final act to help make Yellowknife a better place to live the club donated $5000 to the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors to help construct Aven Manor.