Saturday 24 April 2010

Thunderbird Fish - Norval Morrisseau - 1969

Thunderbird Fish
Norval Morrisseau
BY J. M. Dent & Sons

This book was the first anthology of Indian literature published in Canada. It had been written and illustrated by men and women who are called Indians, but who think of themselves as Sioux or Salish, Ojibway or Delaware, Abnakis or Assiniboine. Here is a glimpse into an Indian world - a world of wars and treaties, honour and treachery, wealth and degradation. Indian stories, songs, and poems from all areas of Canada have been included so that others may enjoy some of the fun that is Blackfoot fun, meet some of the heroes that are Cree heroes, and learn some of the wisdom that is Kwakiutl wisdom.

The reader will be able to find out about some of Canada's Indian "rebels" from the "inside". He will be able to share the experiences of a young Assiniboine boy whose parents both die violently in a tragic set of circumstances uniquely Canadian. Included, too, is the story of the young Okanagan who became Canada's first Indian Member of Parliament.

The Indian people here offer to share the experi­ences and thoughts of their Canada - too long neglected - and which form a vital part of the heri­tage rightfully belonging to all who call themselves Canadians.

The upper picture, "Canadian Geese", is by Francis Kagige (Ojibway for "Forever"), a self-taught Odawa Indian from Manitoulin Island, Ontario.

The lower picture, "Thunderbird Fish", is by Norval Morriseau, whose Indian name is Copper Thunderbird. Mr. Morriseau is an Ojibway, born and raised in the area northwest of Lake Superior.

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