Thursday, November 28, 2013


~ Originally published on 'Anishinaabe Blog' on 10/11/2009

>>> Celebration of the holiday which is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States (ancestral land of the Chippewa or Ojibwa people)

"Looking Northward", © 1970s Norval Morrisseau
~ Issued on a post card to benefit UNICEF
/Click on image to Enlarge/

Giving Thanks for the Good Life

This is the weekend that Canadians, or those of us who live in Canada, give thanks for all that we have in life. It’s an occasion for families to get together. When students come back from school. Where were can sleep away our turkey-induced coma following a massive, but delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s more a secular kind of thanks, though. For Anishinaabe people, and many other practitioners of middle-eastern and eastern religions – giving thanks happens each and every day.
-We give thanks for life. In Anishinaabemowin, we say: miigwetch mno-bimaadiziwin. “Thank you for this good life”.

Mno-bimaadiziwin is more than just a phrase, or general philosophy. It can be said that mno-bimaadiziwin in the thesis for all for Anishinaabe people. Western culture likes to debate “the meaning of life”. For the Anishinaabeg, mno-bimaadiziwin IS the meaning of life.

Long before the colonization of our lands, before our people were exposed to assimilation, Christianity, and european education – our children were taught the ways of the Anishinaabe. One of the most basic teachings was that of balance. The responsibility that human beings were given to look after our friends, family, Mother Earth and ourselves in a balanced way.

The most basic of these teachings is the path of life.

Many Anishinaabe people have heard of the Seven Grandfather teachings. However, before you are to learn of those gifts, our children are taught that there are seven opposites and how to recognize those divergent paths and how they will take you of the sacred “path of life”. This path is called mno-bimaadiziwin.

Once you learn the basics of mno-bimaadiziwin, you can spend a lifetime learning and living the values of Love, Respect, Honesty, Bravery, Truth, Humility and Wisdom.

The word used most loosely in Indian country is the word “teachings”. Teachings are more than a list of seven words. Teachings are more than the words of your wise local Elder. True Anishinaabe teachings have significant substance to them in the form of (1) specific narrative in the language, (2) history, (3) instruction from sacred law, (4) context, (5) songs and (6) ceremonial rites; and (7) action and following through with what you’ve learned.

Even Eddie Benton-Banai, who first translated the Seven Grandfather teachings in the English language (The Mishomis Book, 1979) would be the first to say that these seven teachings offer much more the significant chapter he dedicated in his book.

What Bawdwaywidun offered was a simplified, English pre-amble to the most significant teachings in the Midewiwin society. In reality, the narrative of the Little Boy and the Lodge of the Seven Grandfathers, and each of the seven teachings was something that lasted twenty-one years for the Little Boy.

Sadly, much of that detail has been lost to history – but the Three Fires Lodge and other Midewiwin lodges across the territory continue to carry much of those specific teachings to this day.To learn them, or just to hear them, requires commitment, preparedness, faith, an open heart and an open mind. They are open to anyone to learn. All you need to do is bring your tobacco to the Lodge.

But they can’t be found in any Masters program or new age retreat. Nor can they can’t be found next to the taco stand at your annual pow-wow, or in any one-hour teaching wigwam prior to Grand Entry. As Bawdwaywidun has been known to say: “Come to the Lodge”.

Bob Goulais


Source: 'Anishinaabe Blog'
              * Blog by Bob Goulais

>>> Reference post:

* The painting in this post: "Looking Northward", © c. 1970s Norval Morrisseau

~ Norval Morrisseau together with other Canadian native painters had given their art to benefit United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF: "Giving Life" by Jackson Beardy, "Thunderbird" by Clarence Wells, "The Spirit of Life" by Sam Ash and "Anticipation" by Roy Thomas.
>>> Set of 20 post cards included 4 of each of the obove listed art pieces.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Universal Children's Day 2013

Norval Morrisseau Exhibit at the Legacy Gallery with participants
of the Victoria Children's Museum program in Victoria, BC - November, 2008
© All rights reserved by Victoria Children's Museum

The United Nations' (UN) Universal Children's Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children's welfare.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


"We Are All One in Spirit"-

The Anishnaabe Teachings cited from the Mishomis Book

1. To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
2. To know love is to know peace.
3. To honor all creation is to have respect.
4. Bravery is to face the foe with grace.
5. Honesty in facing a situation is to be honorable.
6. Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of creation.
7. Truth is to know all of these things.

- Each person must find the delicate balance that lies in living in harmony with all creation.

* The painting in this post: "Young Ojibway Indian Man with Eagle Headdress", 52"x28", © 1992 Norval Morrisseau; Provenance: Leona Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC, acquired directly from artist /Private Collection/

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Importance of Art Education

by lisaroselasaga

"The Shaman Artist
Wishes to express to us
The art form
That we are all
Like children

Our childlike simplicity
With dignity and sweet humility
We view
One environment
Remind us of the Pure Spirit
Expressing itself upon ourselves."

Norval Morrisseau, 1983-


Bears of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)


"Untitled", © 1995 Norval Morrisseau

"The Ojibways have great respect for the Bear. According to their legends, in the distant past the Bear had a human form and was in fact an ancestor of the Ojibways. Therefore he understands the Indian language and will never attack or fight any Indian if he is addressed properly."

Norval Morrisseau

-* The painting in this posting: "Sacred Fish", 18"x28", © 1971 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fish of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)


"Sacred Fish", © 1971 Norval Morrisseau

"Just as a fish swims in any clear northern lake (in a medium that is virtually invisible to the eye) so we, if we are to live all right, should realize we live in a dimension on which our very existence, as people and artists, depends. The dimension is that of connectivity in life shared together in mutual respect… Fish, in spawning runs, seem to urge each other on, to reach safe and secluded lakes, with plentiful food supplies. Once there, they can live more non-competitively."

Norval Morrisseau

-* The painting in this posting: "Sacred Fish", 18"x28", © 1971 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Flowers of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

"Flowers", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau

"... Norval, with his incredible ability with the formal problems of art (colour-design-space) and his commitment to the world of his people, the great Ojibway, give one the sense of power that only genius provides... It is sufficient to say that in the history of Canadian Painting, few have, and will remain giants. Norval shall."

Jack Pollock

* The painting in this posting: "Flowers", 29"x27", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Birds of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

"I transmit astral plane harmonies through my brushes into the physical plane. These otherworld colours are reflected in the alphabet of nature, a grammar in which the symbols are plants, animals, birds, fishes, earth and sky. I am merely a channel for the spirit to utilize, and it is needed by a spirit starved society."
Norval Morrisseau


* The painting in this posting: "Owl", 14"x11", © 1960s Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Far reaching influences of the Art of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

-- Art by Hungarian fouth graders

by testlife

This 'You Tube' video presentation includes 13 paintings made in the style of Norval Morrisseau by Hungarian fouth graders. This in itself speaks volumes about the importance of his art.

Someone once commented to Norval Morrisseau that his work looked like it could have been done by a kid? Norval's reply was "the kid probably could, but you couldn't".


Many children have never been exposed to the Art of Norval Morrisseau who has become one of Canada's greatest all time artists and is recognized for his importance Worldwide.

Contributions are welcome to this blog which is dedicated exclusively to inspire Children of Mother Earth about the Art of Norval Morrisseau a.k.a. Copper Thunderbird.


Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker

> For the purposes of this blog I would like to be referred to as Spirit Walker. Miigwetch!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Childlike Simplicity (Part I)


"Sermon to the Birds", 24"x18" © c. 1980s Norval Morrisseau-
/Click on image to Enlarge/

"The Shaman Artist
Wishes to express to us
Through The art form
That we are all
Like children

Our childlike simplicity
With dignity and sweet humility
We view
One environment and
Remind us of the
Pure Spirit
Expressing itself upon ourselves."

Norval Morrisseau-



* The acrylic painting on canvas in this post: ""Sermon to the Birds", 24"x18" © c. 1980s Norval Morrisseau (Private collection)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day 2011


"The Branch of Life", Artwork by Norval Morrisseau (c. 1987)
© Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane
/Click on image to Enlarge/

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below...

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields...

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields...

Lt.-Col. John McCrae


Source (image): (Used with permission)

* The acrylic painting in this post: "The Branch of Life", 56"x51", Artwork by Norval Morrisseau (c. 1987), © Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane in accordance with an agreement with Norval Morrisseau, June 11, 1988 /The Edwards Collection/



"My Children", acrylic on canvas, © 1980 Norval Morrisseau
/Click on image to Enlarge/

I am proud to announce the birth of the Norval Morrisseau for Children Blog which will be dedicated exclusively to inspire Children of Mother Earth about the Art of Norval Morrisseau a.k.a. Copper Thunderbird.

Thank you/Miigwetch,

Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker
/ /


* The artwork in this post: "My Children", © 1980 Norval Morrisseau (Private Collection)

Who is Norval Morrisseau?

- Anishinaabe/Canadian Painter-
© 2008 by Vanessa Liston

"My art reflects my own spiritual personality. Driven from birth by the spirit force within, I have always been convinced that I am a great artist. Only the external and commercial society around me which has caused interruptions and deviations to occur has attempted to dictate to me and establish false values and ideals. The path through this maze has not been easy. Now, thirty-five years later, fortified by my grandfather's spiritual teachings during the first nine years of my life, I make peace with the external world, and I recognize the higher powers of the spirit.

I am a shaman-artist. Traditionally, a shaman's role was to transmit power and the vibrating forces of the spirit through objects known as talismans. In this particular case, a talisman is something that apparently produces effects that are magical and miraculous. My paintings are also icons; that is to say, they are images which help focus on spiritual powers, generated by traditional belief and wisdom. I also regard myself as a kind of spiritual psychologist. I bring together and promote the ultimate harmony of the physical and the spiritual world.

My art speaks and will continue to speak, transcending barriers of nationality, of language and of other forces that may be divisive, fortifying the greatness of the spirit which has always been the foundation of the Great Ojibway."

Norval Morrisseau, 1979-

Source: The text from THE ART OF NORVAL MORRISSEAU ('Jack Pollock's Book') /Lister Sinclair, Jack Pollock, and Norval Morrisseau/; ISBN: 0-458-93820-3 /Toronto, Ontario: Methuen, 1979./-

Norval Morrisseau Colouring Book (Part I)


"Salmon", © 1977 Norval Morrisseau
/Click on image to view high resolution image suitable for printing/

"I've always wanted to be a role model. I've always wanted to stay an Indian. I wanted the little kids to know that."

Norval Morrisseau

~ Pages from the Norval Morrisseau Colouring Book are intended for childen to have fun, but they also help them develop many important skills. These skills, eye-hand coordination, colour concepts and picture comprehension, form the foundation for early learning success!

* The acrylic painting on canvas used for this presentation: "Salmon", 15"x24", © 1977 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Norval Morrisseau a.k.a. Copper Thunderbird


~ Illustration by Spirit Walker ~  
Norval Morrisseau, R.C.A., C.M., LL.D., D.Litt., R.S.C.
(March 14th, 1931 - December 4th, 2007)

A member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (R.C.A.) since 1970, Norval Morrisseau is the most original and important artist that Canada has produced. He is the celebrated founder of the Woodland Indian School of Art (today called the Anishnaabe art), which revitalized Anishnaabe iconography, traditionally incised on rocks and Midewiwin birchbark scrolls.

A self-taught painter, Norval Morrisseau created an innovative visual vocabulary which was initially criticized in the Native community for its disclosure of traditional spiritual knowledge, previously passed down orally. He acquired his knowledge from his grandfather, Moses ("Potan") Nanakonagos, who taught him about Midewiwin scrolls which provided him with a source of powerful images and meanings. His visions come to life on birch bark, paper and canvas. His powerful way of using images and colours effect the viewers in ways that are not immediately apparent...

In 1962 Morrisseau was the first Aboriginal artist to have work shown in a contemporary art gallery (the Pollock Gallery in Toronto), where his bright, stylized images of Windigos, spirit guides, and animals were so well received that he sold all the paintings at the opening night. His colourful, figurative images delineated with heavy black/blue formlines, were characteristically signed with the Cree syllabic spelling of "Copper Thunderbird", the name Medicine woman gave to him aiding his recovery from sickness in his youth.

Norval Morrisseau completed many commissions during his career, including the mural for the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo '67. He was presented with the Order of Canada (O.C.) in 1978, and in 1980 honourary doctorates from McGill and McMaster Universities. In 1989 he was invited, as the only Canadian painter, to exibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris to mark the bicentennial of the French Revolution. In 1995 he was awarded with the Eagle Feather (the highest honour awarded by the the Assembly of First Nations). In 1996 he was appointed Grand Shaman of the Ojibway and in 2005 he was elected to the ranks of The Royal Society of Canada (R.S.C.).

His work now hangs in all of the most prestigious museums in Canada and around the world. The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa had in 2006 a major retrospective of his works: "Norval Morrisseau - Shaman Artist" - the first solo exhibition featuring a First Nations artist in its 126-year history.

Morrisseau, who had been living in Nanaimo, British Columbia, died at General Hospital in Toronto on December 4th, 2007.

Source: An unofficial Website of Norval Morrisseau


"The longer you stand in front of any of his creations, the more you are drawn into his world. A sense of enlightenments experienced as time stands still and you are taken to a place only he could describe."

George Lépine
Assinaboine - Manitoba


1 - The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts is one of Canada’s most enduring cultural institutions is comprised of members in over twenty visual arts disciplines from across Canada.

2 - The Royal Society of Canada (The Canadian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities) is the senior national body of distinguished Canadian scientists and scholars. Its primary objective is to promote learning and research in the arts and sciences. The Society consists of approximately 1700 Fellows: men and women from across the country who are selected by their peers for outstanding contributions to the natural and social sciences and in the humanities.