|Gull Bay and Sand
Point -- the Reserve are where Morrisseau was born and raised by his
grandparents -- are on the west side of Lake Nipigon, a large lake not
far north of Superior and the large fur trading center at Grand Portage
(the westernmost point of Minnesota, just below the Canadian border).
The town of
Thunder Bay, a deepwater port, is the location of Fort William, where
Morrisseau went to 4 years of residential school. Before returning to
the Reserve. Photographed at sunset, from the town, looking across the
bay, is the large hill rock formation non-Indians call "the sleeping
local painter, Dominique, has captured the contours better than the
photographer. Ojibwe people know that this giant is Nanabozho, culture
hero, trickster, creator, Manitou -- and sometimes clown or no-good bum,
too. After the last of his great deeds in the time when it was different
-- animals could talk and such -- Nanabozho lay down here to sleep, but
might awaken if he is really needed.
This geology is a sign of how deeply
Anishinaabeg cultural history permeates the countryside where Morrisseau
grew up. Midewiwin ceremonies were held in spring near where his
grandparents lived. Before the Indian population had been so reduced by
the white man's diseases, in spring huge quantities of giant sturgeon
were caught -- enough to support thousands of people encamped for weeks
of ceremonies. On rocks by lakes and rivers are countless petroglyphs,
whose meanings no one now can be sure of. The land and water all spoke
to Morrisseau, in very ancient voices, as he was growing up here.
All text and graphics at this site copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 by Paula Giese
This site hasn't been updated since 1997 so unless you
convince me the site is going to stay up and safe I'm keeping this valuable
up and running and it ha nothing to do with financial gain of any kind.