MARCH 14, 1932


Born in Sand Point Reserve, near Beardmore, Ontario, Norval was raised traditionally.  His grandfather, a shaman, taught him Anishinaabe traditions and legends, though at a residential school his native culture and language were repressed.  At age 19, however, he suffered an illness.  His mother had a medicine-woman perform a renaming ceremony.  He recovered and signed his works thereafter as Copper Thunderbird.  In the 1960s, one of his early commissions–a mural at Expo 67–expressed First Nations’ dissatisfaction with their social and political situation.  He later founded a school of art called alternately Woodland, Legend, or Medicine painting.  His influence was recognized in 1984 by the Art Gallery of Ontario exhibit Norval Morrisseau and the Emergence of the Image Makers.  Morrisseau was presented with the Order of Canada in 1978.  In 2006, the National Gallery of Canada mounted Norval Morrisseau – Shaman Artist, a travelling retrospective exhibition.  He died December 4, 2007 in Toronto.

Source:  Tom Hill, “Norval Morrisseau,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 12/12/2007.  Retrieved 1/13/2020,
Photo:  Padraic Ryan, 11/11/2007.  Aboriginal War Veterans Monument, Ottawa, Canada.  Permissive Use.

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