Where Morrisseau Grew Up

Page Buttons

Gull Bay and Sand Point -- the Reserve ara where Morrisseau was born and raised by his grandparents -- are on th wst 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 returnng to the Reserve. Photographed at sunset, from the town, looking across the bay, is the large hill rock formation non-Indians call "the sleeping giant."

A 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 th 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.


Navigation Buttons TOP of Page


Text and graphics copyright 1995, 1996

Last Updated: Saturday, August 03, 1996 - 7:28:42 AM