7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. Catalogue Preview

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curated by

Michelle LaVallee with essays by

Joseph Sanchez Tom Hill Barry Ace Lee-Ann Martin Cathy Mattes Carmen Robertson Viviane Gray Michelle LaVallee
























For the artists… Daphne, Alex, Joseph, Carl, Jackson, Eddy and Norval, and their families. For my daughter Xóchil Elena and the next 7 generations …that our heroes, stories and histories remain strong and present.


foreword / avant-propos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 acknowledgements / remerciements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 lenders to the exhibition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 preface / préface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 7: professional native indian artists inc.

Michelle LaVallee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

the artists

Daphne Odjig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Eddy Cobiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

Alex Janvier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Carl Ray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

Jackson Beardy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

Joseph M. Sanchez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107

Norval Morrisseau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

the native group of seven a.k.a. professional native indian artists inc. / le groupe indien des sept autrement dit la professional native indian artists inc.

Joseph M. Sanchez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

canadian indian art, its death and rebirth (1974) / l’art indien au canada : disparition et renaissance (1974)

Tom Hill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179

reactive intermediates: aboriginal art, politics, and resonance of the 1960s and 1970s / réactifs intermédiaires : art et politiques autochtones et résonance des années 1960 et 1970

Barry Ace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183

early adventures in the mainstream: alex janvier, norval morrisseau, and daphne odjig 1962–1975 / premières aventures dans le courant dominant : alex janvier, norval morrisseau, and daphne odjig 1962–1975

Lee-Ann Martin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

“winnipeg, where it all began” – rhetorical and visual sovereignty and the formation of the professional native indian artists inc. / « winnipeg, là où tout a commencé » – souveraineté rhétorique et visuelle et formation de la professional native indian artists inc.

Cathy Mattes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

paper trail: pniai artists in winnipeg newspapers, 1966–1977 / traces écrites : les artistes de la pniai dans les journaux de winnipeg, 1966–1977

Carmen Robertson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

the new group of seven: a reaction to the state of indian art in canada in the sixties and seventies / le nouveau groupe des sept : une réaction à la situation de l’art indien au canada dans les années 1960 et 1970.

Viviane Gray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

one hundred years of indigenous art, culture and politics in canada, 1885–1985: a timeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 list of works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 selected bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280 contributor biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285


My own theory is that four pillars exist in our country’s foundation: the English, the French, the Contemporary Immigrant, and the First Nation. Each plays a vital role in supporting and explaining who and what we are. – Joseph Boyden, author of Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce.


n 7: The Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Michelle LaVallee, the MacKenzie’s Associate Curator, has gathered together a brilliant and comprehensive selection of the works of the members of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. (PNIAI). This original exhibition provides us with examples of their individual vision and artistry and also prompts us to reflect on the place of these artists in what we call Canadian culture and how we have viewed and understood the work of Aboriginal artists in our academies, our public agencies, and our individual and public imaginations. The title of the exhibition, 7, plays with the name often applied to the group: the “Indian Group of Seven.” This comforting and superficially appealing term appears to make a statement about the importance of the group, but ultimately subordinates it to another range of cultural values and experiences. It asks us to relate the accomplishments of these artists not to their own intentions and experiences, but to something from an aesthetic and a world far away. This exhibition helps to build a fresh narrative. Only a few of the names of these artists are household words, but all bear witness to the existence of unique visions and skills in cultures that are often conflated into the deceptively simplifying, homogenizing, and plainly awkward term “Aboriginal.” In this meeting of Indigenous knowledge and contemporary art practice, we are exposed to ways of knowing and creating

that for many Canadians are still alien, whereas for Indigenous people this exposure may be a welcome affirmation of their identities and their own imaginative worlds. 7 contributes to the possibility of a richer and more reflective sensibility relating to relationships with the original people of this land. The artists of PNIAI are of a generation following the Massey-Lévesque Commission report and the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts. As Lee-Ann Martin observes in the essay “Contemporary First Nations Art since 1970: Individual Practices and Collective Activism,” in The Visual Arts in Canada (2010), these artists came together in the early 1970s partly in response to the way in which the Government of Canada supported contemporary Aboriginal art. Or didn’t. In “The Secret’s Out; Our Artists were Subversive” (Eaglefeather News, April 2011), Molson prizewinner Maria Campbell locates the members of the PNIAI at the onset of an emerging line of Aboriginal artists of all disciplines in Canada: trailblazers, perhaps, clearing a long and broadening path in Indigenous cultures. We do know something of the impact that individual members of the PNIAI have had on the subsequent generation of artists and on the public’s perception of the art of Aboriginal people in Canada, most obviously Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland school. I do not believe anyone has fully explored the impact of the members of PNIAI on subsequent generations of visual


artists. Moreover, one wonders if their cultural impact is confined to the visual arts or if it extends to the explosion of contemporary art that Maria Campbell articulates. Is it part of the emergence of a much larger and to some extent still unexplored pattern of artistic development, resulting in growing public recognition and support? It would be important to know more about the impact of the PNIAI not only on contemporary visual arts practice but also, more broadly, on the development of contemporary culture itself.

vital to enjoy and celebrate. For a province like Saskatchewan with a large, youthful Aboriginal population, it is more important than ever that the creative narratives of Indigenous people, among others, are made available to all citizens and that young people can see something of themselves and their cultures in our public cultural institutions. The MacKenzie has an important role to play in articulating matters of identity and cultural change and in engaging with the public in its deep concerns and aspirations. It is our conviction that people should have the

7 is opening just over three decades after the University of Regina’s Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery opened New Work by a New Generation in association with the World Assembly of First Nations held in Regina in 1982. That exhibition, organized by the gallery with the involvement of Carol Phillips, Bob Boyer, and Robert Houle, signalled the commitment of the MacKenzie to contemporary Indigenous art. Even so, New Work was not the first major statement by the gallery in this area. That distinction belongs to a much earlier exhibition, also developed by Bob Boyer, in 1975: 100 Years of Saskatchewan Indian Art: 1830– 1930, which treated traditional work as art, rather than ethno-cultural specimen. 7 contributes to this tradition, and the gallery’s Board of Trustees has endorsed the MacKenzie’s plan to become a centre of excellence in Indigenous art. We are proud of this commitment while recognizing that this work is never done. Above all, this exhibition honours artists whose identities are complex and literally multi-faceted, and gives us something rich and

opportunity to know about these artists and to appreciate their work, individually and in collective exhibitions such as 7. We believe this exposure contributes to the development of a healthier, more equitable community. The MacKenzie Art Gallery is very thankful for the cooperation and generous spirit of those who have so willingly made work available for the exhibition. We hope we have done justice to the trust you placed in the gallery by lending us these works. Thanks as always to the Department of Canadian Heritage for its very generous support through the Museums Assistance Program, which made the scope and quality of the exhibition possible, and to our colleagues in galleries across the country who are partnering with us. I reserve special thanks for the staff of the gallery, led and inspired by Michelle’s scholarship, vision, diplomatic skills, and love for the work of these fine artists. Ultimately we owe our profound thanks to the artists and their families for so generously making these works available to the people of Canada.

They call it sharing. It’s one of our ancient tribal principles as Ojibway people, they say. Many hearts beating together makes us stronger. – Saul Indian Horse in Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse.



Ma propre théorie, c’est que notre pays est fondé sur quatre piliers : les Anglais, les Français, les Immigrants contemporains et les Premières Nations. Chacun de ces piliers joue un rôle capital parce qu’il étaye et explique qui nous sommes et ce que nous sommes. – Joseph Boyden, auteur du Chemin des âmes et des Saisons de la solitude.


ans 7 : The Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Michelle LaVallee, conservatrice associée de la MacKenzie, a réuni une sélection brillante et exhaustive des œuvres des membres de la PNIAI, une association professionnelle d’artistes autochtones. Cette exposition originale nous fournit des exemples de la vision et du talent artistique de chacun des membres. Elle nous incite aussi à réfléchir à la place qu’occupent ces artistes dans ce que nous appelons la culture canadienne et à la façon dont nous avons envisagé jusqu’ici l’art autochtone autant dans nos académies et nos organismes publics que dans notre imaginaire personnel et collectif. Le titre de l’exposition, 7, joue sur le nom que l’on donne souvent à l’association, le « Groupe indien des sept ». Cette appellation en apparence intéressante et réconfortante apparaît comme voulant faire état de l’importance du groupe mais elle ne fait que subordonner celle-ci à une autre gamme de valeurs et d’expériences culturelles. Il nous est demandé de rattacher les réalisations de ces artistes non pas à leurs intentions et expériences personnelles, mais à une esthétique et à un univers lointains. L’exposition favorise l’établissement d’une nouvelle approche. Si seuls quelquesuns des artistes nous sont connus, tous témoignent toutefois de l’existence de visions et de talents uniques dans des cultures trop souvent regroupées sous le terme faussement

simplificateur, homogénéisant et tout-à-fait maladroit qu’est celui d’« autochtones ». Dans cette confluence du savoir indigène et de la pratique artistique contemporaine, nous sommes exposés à des formes de connaissances et de création qui sont encore étrangères à beaucoup de Canadiens, alors que pour les peuples autochtones, cela peut constituer une affirmation positive de leur identité et de leur propre imaginaire. 7 nous permet d’être plus sensibles à nos relations avec les premiers habitants de ce pays. Les artistes de la PNIAI appartiennent à la génération postérieure au rapport de la commission Massey-Lévesque et à la création du Conseil des arts du Canada. Comme l’observe Lee-Ann Martin dans son essai « Contemporary First Nations Art since 1970: Individual Practices and Collective Activism » [Art contemporain des Premières Nations depuis 1970: Pratiques personnelles et activisme collectif] dans le livre The Visual Arts in Canada : The Twentieth Century (2010), le groupe se forme au début des années 1970 en partie en réaction au soutien que le gouvernement du Canada apporte à l’art autochtone contemporain. Ou plutôt à l’absence de soutien. Pour la lauréate du prix Molson Maria Campbell, dans l’article « The Secret’s Out; Our Artists were Subversive » [Ce n’est plus un secret : nos artistes étaient subversifs] (Eaglefeather News, avril 2011), les membres de la PNIAI sont


les premiers d’une lignée émergente d’artistes autochtones canadiens de toutes disciplines : des pionniers, peut-être, ouvrant une large voie d’accès aux cultures autochtones. Nous connaissons quelque peu l’influence que tous les membres de la PINIAI ont exercée sur les générations d’artistes qui les ont suivis. Nous savons aussi que le groupe, notamment Norval Morrisseau et son mouvement artistique de l’école des Woodlands, a changé la façon dont le grand public perçoit l’art amérindien au Canada. Je ne crois pas qu’on ait véritablement étudié l’impact

à une exposition antérieure, datant de 1975, préparée, elle aussi, par Bob Boyer : 100 Years of Saskatchewan Indian Art : 1830–1930 [Un siècle d’art indien en Saskatchewan] qui traitait les objets traditionnels comme des œuvres d’art plutôt que comme des spécimens ethnoculturels. 7 s’inscrit dans cette tradition et le conseil d’administration de la MacKenzie a entériné le projet de faire du musée un centre d’excellence en art autochtone. Nous sommes fiers de cet engagement mais nous reconnaissons que c’est un travail de longue haleine.

que la PINAI a eu sur les générations suivantes d’artistes visuels. Au demeurant, on peut se demander si son impact se confine aux arts visuels ou s’il s’étend aussi à l’explosion d’autres formes d’art contemporain comme l’affirme Maria Campbell. Participe-t-il à l’émergence d’une tendance artistique plus générale mais dans une certaine mesure encore inexplorée, entraînant la reconnaissance et l’appui croissants du public? Il serait important d’en savoir plus à l’égard de l’influence de la PINIAI sur la pratique contemporaine des arts visuels et, en général, sur le développement de la culture contemporaine en tant que telle. 7 ouvre, un peu plus de trente ans après New Work by a New Generation [Nouvelles œuvres d’une nouvelle génération], une exposition organisée par la MacKenzie Art Gallery de l’Université de Regina à l’occasion de l’Assemblée internationale des Premières Nations, tenue à Regina en 1982. Cette exposition, à laquelle ont participé Carol Phillips, Bob Boyer et Robert Houle, marquait l’engagement de la MacKenzie envers l’art autochtone contemporain. Toutefois, New Work ne constituait pas elle-même la première intervention du monde des musées dans ce domaine. Cette distinction revient

Par-dessus tout, l’exposition rend hommage à des artistes à l’identité complexe et littéralement polymorphe et nous permet d’apprécier et de célébrer la richesse et la vitalité de leur œuvre. Pour une province telle que la Saskatchewan, où les jeunes autochtones sont nombreux, il est plus important que jamais que les formes d’expression créatrices des peuples autochtones, entre autres, soient accessibles à tous et que les jeunes puissent se reconnaître, et reconnaître leur culture, dans nos institutions culturelles publiques. La MacKenzie a un rôle important à jouer dans la formulation des questions d’identité et de changement culturel et dans l’instauration d’un dialogue avec le public au sujet de leurs préoccupations et aspirations. Nous sommes convaincus que ce dernier devrait avoir la possibilité de découvrir ces artistes et d’apprécier ce qu’ils ont créé, individuellement et dans des expositions de groupe telles que 7. Nous croyons que ce contact contribuera au développement d’une communauté plus saine et plus équitable. La MacKenzie Art Gallery est reconnaissante de la coopération et de la générosité de ceux et celles qui ont volontiers offert leurs œuvres pour l’exposition. Nous espérons que nous avons justifié la confiance qu’ils nous ont témoignée en


nous les prêtant. Et comme toujours, je remercie le ministère du Patrimoine canadien de son généreux soutien. C’est son Programme d’aide aux musées qui nous a permis d’organiser une exposition d’une telle envergure et qualité. Je suis reconnaissant à nos collègues des musées à travers le pays qui se sont joints à nous. Je tiens à remercier tout particulièrement le personnel

du musée, animé et inspiré par l’érudition, la vision, les talents de diplomate de Michelle et par son amour de l’œuvre de ces artistes de talent. Finalement, nous exprimons nos plus sincères remerciements aux artistes et à leurs familles qui ont mis ces œuvres à la disposition du public canadien.

On appelle cela le partage. Comme le disent les Ojibwés, c’est un de nos vieux principes tribaux. Beaucoup de cœurs battant ensemble nous rendent plus forts. – Saul Indian Horse dans Indian Horse de Richard Wagamese.





Daphne Odjig, Tribute to the Great Chiefs of the Past, 1975 [cat. 84]


Alex Janvier, Exodus from the Soil, 1978 [cat. 44]



Jackson Beardy,Flock, 1973 [cat. 5]


Eddy Cobiness, Untitled, 1973 [cat. 18]


Joseph Sanchez, A’s Family Portrait, 1974 [cat. 113]


Norval Morrisseau, Water Spirit, 1972 [cat. 54]


Carl Ray, Untitled No. 4, no date [cat. 104]






DAPHNE ODJIG We come from a strong people. We had to be strong to survive. (2007) One of the most important lessons that life should teach us is to accept and be proud of our identity. (1985)

I am Potawatomi from Wikwemikong of the Three Fires Confederacy. It is not so long ago that the work of artists of Native ancestry was dismissed as ethnographic. Many people did not believe that our art was worthy of exhibition in fine art galleries because it was not rooted in European tradition. I am proud of my Potawatomi ancestry but I have worked hard to earn respect simply as an artist. I want the work of artists of Native ancestry to stand on an equal footing with the work of artists of other heritages. I was proud to stand in the company of six distinguished artists from many backgrounds to receive Canada’s highest honour in the visual arts from our Governor General, the Queen’s representative in Canada [in 2007]. On that occasion, I spoke about my frustration with boxes reserved for Indian art. I remember having my paintings refused by a private gallery because it was “too Indian.” I also remember being told that my work was “not Indian enough.” My commitment is to painting in my own voice. I believe that the work of artists of Native ancestry can be as fine as the work of any tradition. I don’t want to see young artists of Native ancestry paint themselves into a box in their search for authenticity. Every artist paints from their own cultural heritage and their own experience. Whatever your heritage, it will come out in your brush. My counsel to young artists is to stop worrying about authenticity. It is within

you. Trust that the Ancestors will speak through you. Know that they do not want you to try to be them. Create in your own voice. I am still wrestling with the issues around whether there is a need to have separate exhibition spaces for “Indian art.” I remember as a young girl being very disappointed when the priest cancelled our participation in fall fair competitions with a neighbouring White community. It was our chance to prove that we were as good as they were. We wouldn’t have that opportunity if we only competed among ourselves. At the same time I recognize the need for artists of Native ancestry to develop within a context that honours their cultural heritage and respects their aesthetic perspective. There was a need to form the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. – the Indian Group of Seven. We acknowledged and supported each other as artists when the world of fine art refused us entry. There was a need for transformation in how the work of artists of Native ancestry was understood and valued. Together we gradually broke down barriers that probably would have been so much more difficult faced alone. Who would have believed back in the seventies that three of us – Norval Morrisseau, Alex Janvier and myself – would become Governor General’s Laureates. Daphne Odjig, 2009


Gii-zoongaadiziwag gaa-bi-onjiiyang. Ji-gii-zoongaadiziyang ji-bimaadiziyang. (2007) Maawanj gechi-inendaagwak gagiikwewin ji-gikina’amaagoyang ji-gichi-inendamang aweneniwiyang. (1985)

Wiikwemikong nindoonjibaa, nimboodawaadamiiw, niswi-ishkodeng nindizhi-dibendaagoz. Gaawiin igo ginwezhekamig Anishinaabeg gii-majenjigaadeniwan omazinibii’igewiniwaan. Niibowa awiyag gii-inendamoog gaawiin nimazinibii’igewininaanan daa-waabanda’iwesiim gemaa daa-adaawaagesiim ningoji, gaawiin aaniish waabishkiiwe ogii-ozhitoosiinan. Ningichi-inendaan Boodawaadamiiyaan, ningii-gichi-anokii dash ji-majenimigoosiwaan mazinibii’igeyaan. Ninandawendaan daataabishkoo ji-inaabanjigaadegin anishinaabeg omazinibii’igewiniwaan daabishkoo bakaan awiyag. Ningii-gichi-inendaan ji-wiijigaabawitawagwaa ningodwaaswi omazinibii’igeg bakaan odakaaneziwaad ji-nanaakomigooyaang Kaanada ogichi-ogimaakaanan gaa-giigidootamaagod gichi-ogimaakwe [2007 gaa-akiiwang]. I’iwe apii, ningii-wiindamaage migoshkaaji’igooyaan makakoon nepiimatoong anishinaabeg omazinibii’igewiniwaan onji. Nimaamikawise, gaawiin gii-noonde-waabanda’iwesiim nimazinibii’iganan “onzaam gii-anishinaabewinoon.” Zhigwa gaye ningii-wiindamaagoo gaawiin “minik gii-anishinaabewisoon.” Ningii-giizhendam niin igo waa-izhibii’igeyaan ji-izhibii’igeyaan. Nindinendam Anishinaabeg omazinibii’igewiniwaan ji-aapiji-minonaagwakin daabishkoo bakaan awiya. Gaawiin ninandawenimaasiig oshki-omazinibii’igeg ji-gagwe-gaagiizibii’igewaad anishinaabewiwaad eta onji. Bigo awe gaa-mazinibii’iged odoonaabandaan gaa-gii-bi-izhi-bimaadizid odizhitwaawining. Bigo gidizhitwaawin, gimazinibii’igewining da-izhise. Niwiindamawaag osh-


ki-ayaansag, gego wawaanendangen ji-aanawenimigooyan. Giiyawing ate. Debwetan ogetemag giga-wiiji’igoog. Gikendan gaawiin ginandawenimigosiig ji-naabinootaageyan. Giin igo onendamaazon. Giiyaabi nindoonjaanimi’igon daga bakaan ji-achigaadegin “anishinaabeg omazinibii’igewiniwaan.” Niminjimendaan aabiding gii-minjinaweziyaan ikwezensiwiyaan, gaawiin mekidewikonaye ningii-bagidinigosiinaan ji-gagwe-aadawaanangwaa waabishkiiweyaansag nimazinibii’igewinaanan onji. Nindaa-gii-waabanda’iwemin geniinawind gii-nitaawibii’igeyaang. Gaawiin daa-gii-minosesinoon niinawind eta gagwe-bakinaadiyaang. Ningikendaan gaye Anishinaabeg gaa-mazinibii’igewaad ji-onaabandamowaad wiinawaa odizhitwaawiniwaan aaniin gaye ji-izhinaagwakinipan. Onji ji-onachigaadeg iwe Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. – gaa-niizhwaachiwaad Anishinaabeg (the Indian Group of Seven). Ningii-ziidooshkaadimin apii gaa-niigaaniiwaad gii-biindigadoosigwaa nimazinibii’igewinaanan. Onjida ji-gikenjigaadeg aaniin Anishinaabeg omazinibii’igewiniwaan ji-inaabanjigaadegin, aaniin gaye ji-apiitenjigaadegin. Maamawiinowaang, gegapii ningii-debwenimigoomin, nawach idash daa-giizanagan giishpin bebezhigoyaangiban. Nisimidana daswaaki odaanaang idash nindaa-gii-debwetaamin gii-nisiyaang – Norval Morrisseau, Alex Janvier dago niin - gichi-ogimaakaanag ji-nanaakomigooyaang Daphne Odjig, 2009

Daphne Odjig, So Great Was Their Love, 1975 [cat. 83]


Daphne Odjig, The Medicine Man, 1974 [cat. 79]


BIOGRAPHY Daphne Odjig (b. 1919) was born on Wikwemikong (Manitoulin Island) and is of Potawatomi and Odawa heritage. Odjig was admitted to the British Columbia Federation of Artists in 1963, and in 1970 she established Odjig Indian Prints of Canada Limited in Winnipeg. She served as a member of the board and instructor for the Manitou Arts Foundation on Schreiber Island, Ontario (1971). In 1973, Odjig received a Swedish Brucebo Foundation Scholarship and travelled as a resident artist to Sweden. Odjig has been the recipient of several awards and honours, including: the Canadian Silver Jubilee Medal (1977); an Eagle Feather on behalf of the Wikwemikong Reserve in recognition of her artistic accomplishment, an honour previously reserved for men (1978); the Order of Canada (1986); the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1998); the Commemorative Golden Jubilee Medal (2002); the Order of British Columbia (2007); and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2007). She has been awarded honorary doctorates by Laurentian University, Sudbury (1982), University of Toronto (1985), Nipissing University, North Bay (1996), Okanagan University College, Kelowna (2002), Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops (2007), Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto (2008), University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario (2008), and Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie (2011). Odjig has been an honorary board member of the Canadian Heritage Foundation (1988–93) and is an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (1989). In 1971, Odjig opened a small craft store in Winnipeg. This craft store was expanded in 1974 to create the New Warehouse Gallery, the

first gallery owned and operated by a person of Aboriginal heritage in Canada. Two feature documentaries have been produced about Odjig’s life and work: Colours of Pride (1973) and The Life and Work of Daphne Odjig (2008). Odjig has written and illustrated a series of school readers, Nanabush Tales (1971), which are still included as part of the curriculum in elementary schools on Manitoulin Island. Several major exhibitions of her work have been organized, including the recent internationally touring retrospective, The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig, curated by Bonnie Devine and co-organized by the Art Gallery of Sudbury and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2007). In 1992, the monograph and exhibition, A Paintbrush in My Hand, Daphne Odjig was launched. Odjig was featured, alongside fellow PNIAI members Norval Morrisseau and Carl Ray, with younger prominent First Nations artists in the Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition The Image Makers (1984). Odjig’s work is held in numerous public and private collections, including: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (ON); Art Gallery of Ontario (ON); Art Gallery of Sudbury (ON); Canada Council Art Bank (ON); Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); Glenbow Museum (AB); MacKenzie Art Gallery (SK); McMichael Canadian Art Collection (ON); National Gallery of Canada (ON); Royal Ontario Museum (ON); Thunder Bay Art Gallery (ON); and Winnipeg Art Gallery (MB). Odjig has completed several major commissions, including: Earth Mother, for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 70, Osaka, Japan (1970); The Great Flood, a mural for Peguis High School in Hodgson, Manitoba (1971); The


Creation of the World, a Centennial Commission for the Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg (1972); From Mother Earth Flows the River of Life, for the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1973); The Indian in Transition, for the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau (1978); and Rebirth of a Culture, for the McMichael Canadian Art


Collection, Kleinburg (1979). In 1975, she was invited to paint her interpretations of Jerusalem for El Al (Israel Airlines) and, in 1986, Odjig was chosen as one of only four international artists to paint a homage to Pablo Picasso in Antibes, France.

Daphne Odjig, Chained to Time, 1973 [cat. 75]



EDDY COBINESS To me, being an artist is in itself life’s greatest gift which is an honour and to which I am greatly thankful. For many years I have worked as an artist, enjoyed it and considered it a great privilege and duty to pass on my talent to others, artists yet unborn, dreams yet unrealized.1 (1978) A gift such as this is not to be wasted; it constitutes the greatest part of my life and I consider it my bounden duty to pass it on to the children of the future; maybe they will have a chance to live what I now paint, taking the magic out of the canvas as an example for their life and others so that beauty and dignity will enter our lives again as it was in the time of the ancients and perhaps my visions and dreams are messages for the young to think about and to strive to live by. 2 (1978) I have met and worked with many talented young artists, who have so much to contribute to the world of visual art. I hope, by setting a good example myself, that someday you will get to know them too. 3 (1978)

Niin wiin, mazinibii’igeyaan ningichi-inendaan gii-miinigoowiziyaan, mii dash ninanaakondaa. Aazha niibowa daswaaki owe nindinanokii mazinibii’igeyaan, niminwendaan owe ji-aanike-miinagwaa awiyag mashi-netaawisigwaa gemaa mashi gekendanzigwaa owaabanjigewiniwaa’. (1978) Owe dino miinigoowiziwin gaawiin ji-webinigaadeg. Mii owe maawanj gechi-inendamaan nimbimidaaziwining. Nindinendaan gaye ji-aanike-miinagwaa niigaan abinoojiiyag, maagizhaa gewiinawaa mii ge-izhi-bimaadiziwaapan. Ji-odaapinamowaad wegonen mezinibii’igaadeg obimaadiziwiniwaang gaa-onizhishininig daabishkoo gaa-gii-izhisewaad ogeteyaadiziig. Maagizhaa gaa-inaabishinaan oshki-ayaansag onji ji-naanaagadawendamowaad aaniin ji-izhi-bimaadiziwaad. (1978) Niibowa oshki-mazinibii’igeg ningii-bi-nagishkawaag, wiidanokiimagwaa gaye gaa-wawiingeziwaad ji-mazinibii’igewaapan. Nimbagosendaan gwayakwaadiziyaan niin onji, maagizhaa ningoding gidaa-nagishkawaag. (1978)

Eddy Cobiness, quoted in The Flowing Art of Eddy Cobiness, promotional handout (Winnipeg, MB: Great Canadian Print Company Ltd., c. 1975). Ibid. 3 Ibid. 1



Eddy Cobiness, Let There Be Life, 1973 [cat. 16]


His art lives in his soul: Inspiration rides the wings of sleep MICHELLE RAMSAY, Daily News, MARCH 28, 1977

CHATHAM, ON — The art of Eddy Cobiness is straight from his soul. A soul which, he says, has wandered among his Ojibway ancestors and through the wilds of the forest in the dark of the night. A full-blooded Ojibway from Buffalo Point Reserve in Manitoba, Mr. Cobiness is a believer in visions while sleeping. He was at the Thames Art Centre Saturday for a native art show. “It is part of the Indian culture and belief that when a person is asleep, his soul leaves his body temporarily to travel,” he said. “I often find inspiration through my dreams and I use it in my art.” The show ends Friday. He calls his work “the truth about the Indian people” and says its purpose is to incorporate old customs with today’s lifestyle. “People often have the wrong conception of Indian culture. They read books written by white men and often there are errors in them,” he said. One example, he pointed out was, “the happy hunting grounds” theory of Indian heaven. “I don’t believe an Indian goes there when he dies. My theory is what I have painted in this work, he said, gesturing at Infinity, a painting on display at the Thames Arts Centre’s native art show over the weekend. “The painting shows one blue circle representing my body and the light blue circle represents my soul. The fine lines between the body and soul are broken, meaning death, and the soul is behind a barrier,” he explained. “I don’t know what’s behind the barrier, but it sure isn’t ‘the happy hunting grounds’,” he added.

Another of his favorite pieces is a painting called Integration, depicting different races and cultures of the world. Each is shaped like a box, with various colorings denoting the different peoples. The boxes in the painting are crowded together and, according to Mr.Cobiness, it is “the way we should be close to one another without prejudices separating us.” He prefers to work out of his trailer home on the Buffalo Point Reservation, where the elements of nature are at hand. One of the newer techniques was developed by living in close contact with the wilds. “One day a friend of mine was hunting nearby and he came to my place to ask me if he could borrow a knife to skin a deer he had just shot,” he explained. I walked to the woods with him and watched him skin the animal. Although I don’t hunt, I was fascinated by the colors of the autumn leaves, the patterns made by the sun and the animal skin and insides. I ran back to my trailer and began sketching.” Mr. Cobiness made 10 sketches, some with touches of watercolour, bundled them up and took them to Daphne Odjig’s art gallery in Winnipeg. At the time, a government employee was searching for paintings for the provincial offices and he spotted the sketches. He immediately purchased five and the next day, came back for two more. Today they are part of the Province of Manitoba’s collection in Winnipeg. Mr. Cobiness’s works have become so popular that he was commissioned by the Manitoba


Indian Brotherhood to do a painting for Queen Elizabeth II of England. In 1970, on Her Majesty’s Canadian tour, Mr. Cobiness’s painting was presented to the queen. In 1973, John Dennahy of Ottawa, an art financier, contacted 14 popular Indian artists in Canada and offered to help them form an association to ensure that they received the value of their art through sales. However, only six artists and Mr. Cobiness expressed interest and subsequently formed what is now “The group of seven Indian artists”. Since becoming a member of the group, Mr. Cobiness says his pen and ink drawings have jumped in price from $50 to $300.


He says he is so relaxed at times, he can complete 25 or 30 watercolors in a month and is proud of the work done on each one. Although he enjoys showings of his work, he admits that if people don’t come to see it, he doesn’t care. The Indian artist has works on display in permanent collections at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gallery Anthropos in London, England, Dominion Gallery in Montreal, the Art Emporium in Vancouver and Wallack Galleries in Ottawa.

Eddy Cobiness, Wild Rice Harvesting, 1973 [cat. 19]


Eddy Cobiness, Untitled, 1974 [cat. 22]


BIOGRAPHY Eddy Cobiness (1933–1996) was born in Warroad, Minnesota and raised on Buffalo Point Reserve, Manitoba. Between 1954 and 1957, Cobiness served in the United States Army, where he became a Golden Gloves boxer and continued to draw and sketch during his leisure time. In 1980, he served as chairman of the First Annual Great Peoples PowWow in Sprague, Manitoba. He has also published his illustrations in two books: Alphonse Has an Accident (1974) and Tuktoyaktuk 2-3 (1975). An Ojibway artist, Cobiness participated in several exhibitions as a member of PNIAI throughout the 1970s, including: Canadian Indian Art ’74, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1974); Indian Art ’75, Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford (1975); and Colours of Pride: Paintings by Seven Professional Native Artists / Fierté sur Toile, Dominion Gallery, Montreal (1975). His

works have also been included in two recent group exhibitions: Frontrunners, co-organized by Winnipeg’s Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art and Urban Shaman Contemporary Art Gallery and Artist-Run Centre, Winnipeg (2011); and My Winnipeg: There’s No Place Like Home, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2012). His work is held in many prominent private collections worldwide including those of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Queen Elizabeth II, and former Manitoba Premier Edward Schreyer. His work is found in several public collections, including: Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (ON); McMichael Canadian Art Collection (ON); Royal Ontario Museum (ON); and Woodland Cultural Centre (ON).



ALEX JANVIER Yedariye’s Voice in Colour In the precontact Kanata era, the work of art had a strong influence through totem poles, rock paintings, porcupine quillwork, and later beadwork. All of the above are tribally distinct univer-sally. Many tribal meanings of doing traditional works of art have been lost. The separation of the youth from the elders started the ending. The old porcupine quill designs were angular and straight edge. In later years, the Hudson’s Bay beads came, and the geometric rigidity was loosened by the freedom of the new beads. This is where my art began, watching the old ladies doing their new free flowing designs. By the time I was fifteen, I was already being called an artist. I didn’t know what that was, but that’s what I was called. I was called a lot of other names too, in that residential school. But one thing that was absolute in all that time – 287 Cold Lake was me – and I’m still 287 to this day according to the Department of Indian Affairs. That kind of story does a lot of unusual things to your life. It tears your language, culture, beliefs and so on. They probably removed a lot of it. But one thing that stayed with me was my language. I was able to speak my language to the end, and I still continue to enjoy dialogue with my siblings and other relatives. The ill-fated Indian residential schools brought one good thing for me, the introduction of col-our-crayons, pencils, watercolours, and manilla paper. Access to these materials was

universal amongst all students; and with them came the good fortune of a new way of art making. This good fortune, the supply of new materials, allowed an unprecedented change-up and a new outlook on art. During my early teenage years in the town of St. Paul, we formed a group of local artists. A cer-tain professor, Carlo Altenberg, from the University of Alberta came to recognize my raw talent. He invited me for private tutoring during the summer holidays. It was there that I had my earli-est exposure to the works of Kandinsky, Klee, and Miró. They came to my attention with many other modern artists through art books from the University of Alberta Library. The professor would leave me to the books. He cautioned, “Do not read, study the pictures.” Later I had to report everything that was observed. The next day he would quiz me about what I had learned in greater detail. His only comment was, “Goot, my boy, very goot.” During the rest of the week, I learned more about art by doing watercolour on dried stretched paper taped on a flat plywood board. For the next three years, my studies continued, the private tutoring in the summer and in the St. Paul group during the winter months. In 1956 after completing high school at St. Thomas College in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, I entered into a school of art at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, in Calgary, Alberta. I graduated in 1960. Following


graduation I taught art for a couple years through the Depart-ment of Extension, at the University of Alberta. In 1962, I went on to paint full-time, and have successfully continued to this day. My reason for getting involved with the Indian Group of Seven was to take our art out of the ethnological and war museums in Ottawa, Ontario and bring it to mainstream Canada. It was a reality check. We were to learn that our art was not in need, nor invited. “Indian Art” was a thing that was shoved aside to the museum, but we had a different idea. We had a different view about

And from then on we began to change the art world in Canada. Dubbed “Indian Art” and more recently “Aboriginal art,” it has become much more (comparatively) successful. That’s what we did. We didn’t plan it that way, but we were there, and our works started to work for them-selves. The paintings started to speak for us. In recent years, the art work by Morrisseau and Daphne Odjig have made it into the national fibre with impact at the National Gallery of Canada. One day what I do may be discovered, per-haps by a foreign country, to give it a full

this. Daphne had an art place in Winnipeg and we used to congregate there. We had a vision and we believed that we had something. We had to open up a lot of doors. After a difficult negotiation, the Dominion Gallery in Montre-al opened the first door into the top galleries in Canada, to give breakthrough show Number One. The story started somewhere in the west. I think Vancouver was the first show, and then we went down the line. But we still needed that rubber stamp of approval for what we were doing. And so we asked John Dennehy to negotiate a show at the Dominion Gallery in Montre-al. We knew that the famous Max Stern would be the man who would probably approve this show and if he okayed it, then we were in. So we did that and we had a show at the Dominion Gallery. And it changed things. We finally got that rubber stamp and other gallery owners start-ed to open up their doors.

exposure with a serious major book to accompany the grand opening. I have painted solely. There is something to paint any moment, night and day. My paintings are just about who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen. What I have painted is about what the hell happened to us as landlords of the land, sky, and water. Painting says it all for me. It is the Redman talk in colour, in North America’s language. Our Ye-dariye’s (Creator’s) voice in colour.


Alex Janvier, 2012 * Yedariye means the Creator in the Denesuline language.

Alex Janvier, High Hopes of a Liberal, 1974 [cat. 37]


Yedariye Bedayigheh Bedehdtleri Asi Dene nedjah nih ghetherdel ghile ghidtu, asi ghegai, etladunidene yeltzih, nesuh ghunidhen gha ghotegheh ghunidhen ghu asi ghotleh nisih, dedchen ghegadh dta chu, ttheh ghedertler ghu, tzi cho’gho ghidta asi ghega nisi chu eyi ghokesi ehtzuzi dta tthi asi ghega ghaja nisi. Etladunidene asi ghegha nisi dta ghunidhen ghidta asi ghega nisi eyi ghenaghunighile si dughu. Dene godheh alnethi tchasi edilye ghadja nisi ghodtzi bedtchasi ghodegheltdhed ni. Yanisi, tzi cho’gho dta asi ghotleh nisi nahdtadh landtu ghudtthi eltthidareah ghu asi ghegah nisi. Ku eyer ghokesi ghu ttheghottine ninidel ghu ehtzuzi ninila ghu asi eltthi dadeai chu nantzer landtu asi ghegah nisi ghutzeltih ghileh ghu dtatzen losi tzen dadedthen ghaldhen ghadja nih, asi ghegai, ehtzuzi godhe dta. Eyer ekughu ghodtzi si,si asi ghesghai jai, alnethi asi gheghai k’anestai, dta tzen wolei danidhen ghu asi ghegha jai ekughu. Sulaghi tchadhel seghaiye ghu, Artist ghelih sih setzedi ghadja nisi. Eyi dta ahtzedi sih kosha ghile ni, kuli, kusetzedi slinih. Eyi beghadheni tthi sizih tla tlinih, eyer dta ghanughenelteghn ka naide nighileih. Itlaghi asi zah eyi ghoteghe eltthi kosha ni, eyi 287 Cold Lake eyi sih ni, eyi ahtlo 287 gheslih ghindteh dughu ghodtzen, Department of Indian Affairs bedaghare. Eyi kondtih asi bedta asughundteh la ghikelaighini eghenai bazih. Neyatiye neghaghadiltchulh, nedtchaniye ghu, dtantu nanighidhed ghu asi kanultah nisih chu kondtih asi dalih. Asi tla ghedih ahlya. Itlaghi asi eyi sel budelah ni, eyi seyatiye. Seyatiye eyi dtanilthai tzen ninina ghilih sih ghodtzen ghustoghn, selodtine dahlih bel dayasti ghudesha seyatiye dta. Eyi duwe bunilthen kuli sekwighauneltaghn ini, eyi bedta ihtla suwa ghasja si, tlis chene bedta


asi ghededled laghodti chu tu bedta asi ghededledi chu tlistheth beke ededtlis ghai chu eyi bekodeshai eyed naghidhed ghodta. Eyi kondti asi detthiyeh dta eyer ghauneltai ghudenih beghuini gha badaghola ni, eyi ghodta edestlis dta asi nezui ghesghah ghadja ni. Eyer, si sa suwa nudeltthed ghidta asi ehtladughodti, ghodtthe gholih ghulei nezui k’aunedta ghaneh ghadja ni,edestlisi ghodta. Tchelekuwi ghestli ghu kughe St. Paul ghulyei eyer dene dta asi daditlis kudadelyai ahtla nadil gha ghuwilya ni. Ihtlaghi dene ghaunelteghni Carlo Altenberg ghulyei, Alberta University ghodtzih dandtu edetlisih ghuwuhlni ni. Dtandtu kundtu edetlisih gha ghanunustaghi gheni ah, sineh ghasuneltehn nailih ghilya ni. Eyer ekughu ni sih, asi dene dta edetlis kolyai Kardinsky ghulyei chu, Klee ghulyei chu Miro ghulyei chu eyi bedtzi editlis bekudesha ghel tthi etladuni dene asi daditlis kudadelyai gha editlis ghega nisi tthi naghi tthi bekudesha ni eyed editlis k’eghoni kughe eyer Alberta University. Eyi dta ghasuneltegheni adi ghu, didi editlis bek’eyaghulti sana selni tli ni, ghoteghe nughulih la selni tli ni. Eyer ghokesih ghu dtandtu bek’ anighiltai gha bel kudesih nagholih ni. Eyi keni tzine de tthi nasudelked tli ni dta ghogha bel yaghilti ni gha. Dta gha ni tli ni, “ nezu, siyeseh, nezu akuli” gheni tli ni.Eyer ghokesih tzidatagha de, tthi, tu ghel asi ghededledi dta editlis k’e dechen kale k’e benildtusi ke asi dadestlis ghitlini. Eyed ghokesi bekeni taghi ghaiye, kundtu ghusuneltah, dheni tthi ghasuneltagh sine ghu, ghaiye ghu St Paul ghodtzi ahtla nitzidighli bel nanasdthi tli ni ghaiye ghu. 1956 ekughu sekuwi ghaunelteghni enasdhen ghu St Thomas ghulyei eyed North Battleford kuwe, Saskatchewan keyagha. Eyed ghodtzi Southern Alberta Institute of Technology nedani ya ni, Calgary

keyagha, Alberta k’e. 1960 ekughu eyi tthi enasdhen ni. Eyer ghokesi ghu si dene ghaunesteghn ghadja ni, eyer Department of Extension ghel University k’eyagha eyer Alberta ghindti. Ku eyer ghok’esi 1962 ekughu sidheni edestlis dta asi ghedestler gha sudelah ghadja ni, kundtu asi ghodestzi dta ahtlo sudel ah dteh dughu ghodtzen. Dta ghodta eyi totagh dene asi daditlis kudadelyai ghadeniyai eyi yaghi ghodta sih, dene tzi asi daditlisih dalih, dta kundti dta tthei dene bedtzi asi k’e ghoni kuwe ghodtzi eduwulyeh ghu detthiyeh dene yek’auneltagh gha Canada k’eyagha wolei nesdhen

Dominion Gallery nuhtzi editlis nedtih gha ghughilya ni. Eyi kunaghudhed ni ghodta asi dtandtu naudeltthi ghani kodja ghile nih. Kolyai ghodtzi, tzeh dta nanelyel lalyai ghodtzi, nugha dtalosi tzen nugha ghodanadelyei ghadja nihsi. Ekughu ghodtzi ghuldu nedja Canada k’eyagha dtandtu asi detlisih k’aghunedtai ehtladughodtih laneh ghadja ni. Indian art sni ghu ghudtzi ghadja ni, ku k’ane thili ghodtzi ghu Aboriginal Art sni bek’aghunedtah ghadja si, eyed ghodtzi ghuldu kondti editlis beghaunidhen ghaneh ghadja ni. Nuhni kughilyai eyi si. Kughulyei nidthen ghitaile

ghidtah ni. Eyi ghodtah dtaghundtehi kodethilya ni. Eyi ghodta nuhtzi editlis bedinagholti ghile ghudtthi, bekaunetagh tthile ghudtthi. Indian Art sni eyi asi daditlis nisi ihtlasi tzen benilni adtzedi ghik’ela ni, kuli nuhni kundtu bek’aniltagh ghile ni. Detthiyeh kunidtthen ni dtandtu asi kadaniltaghi. Daphne edini dta la k’e gholai eyer ahtla ninidil ghu ghogha dayailti dta eyer. Dtandtu asi ghalaghahda ghili gha nuhni nuhnih dta dtalya ghili gha nuhnih thiltzi ni, dtunidthen nidthen tthi ghel. Yodetaghne tlai ghodadeghilyai dta gholduh gha laghodtih ni. Ghudeni ghile kuli bebasi ghogha dayailti ni, Dominion Gallery ghulyei eyer tthe nugha ghodaghadetah ni Montreal kuwe k’eyagha, eyer kedagha tzen editlis nedtih kuwe Canada k’eyagha dta tthe kolyah ni nughah. Eyi ghoni yadagha asitai bunidhed ni. Vancouver kuwe tthe ni woni eyer ghodtzi yayagha tzen kuwe daghola si tthi kudalya ni eyi bek’eni. Kondteh kuli ahtlo ihtlaighi asi ghedih landteh niah eyi tzeh dta ghe nughetzedi ghile landte niah eyi berilih ni. Eyi ghodta ihtlaghi dene John Dennehy ghulyei ghudighilked ni nugha senughuei gha kughundtei kuwe gha, eyer Dominion Gallery, Montreal kuwe k’eyagha senuniah ni nugha. Eyer ihtlaghi balei bek’odjai Max Stern ghulyei ghe gheni deh kudta nughel nughulta landtu nuk’aunetah gha nidthen ni, Eyi ah kughilya ghu

kuli eyer nughodelah niah, nuhtzi editlis edegha eghalaghena ghaneh ghadja ni. Eyer ghodtzi ghu eyi nuhtzi editlis tthi nughel yalti laneh ghadja ni sih. K’ane thaghile ghu, kundti editlis Morriseau chu Daphne Odjig chu yeltzi eyi desikedhe nene beyuwe landteh ghu bek’aunedta ghadja National Gallery Canada bedtzi kesi eyer budelah. Si tthi dtaghah de dtandtu edestlish eyi tthi bek’aghunedtah wonih, etladuni nene k’e ghodtzi bek’aunedtah tai, ghoteghe nedtih gha begha editlis gholih ghel ghodaghadedtih ghu seditliseh nedtih gholye gha tai le sah. Sih dhene asi ghedestled, kundtu ghesgal. Dtaghulosih asi ghedestled gha ghoah, ghedtleghe tai tzitheh tai. Si asi ghedestledi sih segha eyi, dta ghestli ghu dtanathiyai ghu, dta ghesih chu gha. Dta ghogha edestlisi eyi, edtlanaghodhed niah nuhni nuhtzen, dta asi kelnih ghidtlih kesi nuhk’aughunedta ni, nih chu, yakiyeh chu tu chu gha, dtandtu nuhtzen naudeldthedi ghogha asi ghedestled. Asi ghededtledi eyi si sel andtedi koghoni. Eyi si bek’e dene delkosi beyatiye budedti ghastlehei, desik’edhe nene beyatiyeh dta. Nuhtzi yedariyeh bedayighe budedti asi ghedestledi dta. Alex Janvier, 2012


Alex Janvier, The True West, 1975 [cat. 40]


BIOGRAPHY Alex Janvier (b. 1935) was born at Cold Lake First Nations, Alberta, and is of Dene Suline and Saulteaux heritage. In 1960, Janvier received his Fine Arts Diploma with Honours from the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, after which he worked as an art instructor at the University of Alberta (1961). Janvier was later hired as a cultural adviser to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) and helped to establish cultural policy for the Cultural Affairs Program (1965). He was also appointed to the Aboriginal Advisory Committee for the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, where he painted a nine-foot circular mural titled Beaver Crossing Indian Colours. Janvier has been the recipient of several honours over the years. These honours include Lifetime Achievement awards from the Tribal Chiefs Institute, Cold Lake First Nations (2001), and the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (2002); the Centennial Medal for outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta (2005); the Order of Canada (2007); the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2008); the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Marion Nicoll Visual Arts Award (2008); the Alberta Order of Excellence (2010); and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013). Janvier has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Alberta (2008), the University of Calgary (2008), and Blue Quills First Nations College (2012). His work has been exhibited in many solo exhibitions including, most recently, ALEX JANVIER, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2012). He has been included in numerous group

exhibitions, nationally and internationally, including: Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg (1972); Indian Art ’74, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1974); Two Worlds, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina (1985); Eight from the Prairies, Thunder Bay Art Gallery (1987); In the Shadow of the Sun, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau and the University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany (1989); Land Spirit Power, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1992); and Honouring Tradition: Reframing Native Art, Glenbow Museum, Calgary (2008). His work can be found in several prominent public and private collections, including: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (ON); Alberta Art Foundation (AB); Canada Council Art Bank (ON); Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); Glenbow Museum (AB); The Late Lester B. Pearson Collection (AB); MacKenzie Art Gallery (SK); McMichael Canadian Art Collection (ON); Mendel Art Gallery (SK); Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (QC); National Gallery of Canada (ON); Thunder Bay Art Gallery (ON); and Winnipeg Art Gallery (MB). His major commissions include a mural for the Indians of Canada pavilion, Expo 67, Montreal (1967); Tribute to Beaver Hills for Strathcona County Hall (1976); The Seasons, for the Canadian Museum of Civilization (1978); his 450 square metre mural, Morning Star, for the Canadian Museum of Civilization (1993); and the White Buffalo ($200 coin) for the Royal Canadian Mint (1998). The Janvier Gallery opened in the City of Cold Lake, Alberta in 2003 and later relocated to its new space at Cold Lake First Nations in January 2012.


Alex Janvier, The Bureaucratic Supremist, 1975 [cat. 39]




CARL RAY What you are looking at is ancient and sacred. In fact, what you see could be described as a part of my soul.1 (1971) The legends, beliefs, and stories of my people have all but disappeared. My paintings are an attempt to preserve the stories of my people. Most of the stories I have learned were taught to me by my mother Maggie Ray and the old people on the reserve. 2 (1968) The last time there was a ceremony in our band was when I was about six years old. It was a berry festival that was being held in a birch bark lodge. The whole village was there and the priest came and told us to stop the berry festival. The priest understands now, but it is too late. The ceremony is gone. 3 (1968)

Óma ká kinawápataman kayítéyátan éko kanátan. Óma ká isi wápataman éyako ni tacák. (1971) Aniki ácínókéwina, tapwetamowina, éko acimowina ati mwéci wanitániwana. Oki nimasinahipéyikana é kakwé nókótáyán óki kákípé isi pimácihocik nitininímak. Wésam piko anihi kakináw ácinokéwina ká kiskénitamán, nimámá Maggie Ray éko kotakak kayitéyátisak ékípé ácimostáwicik. (1968) Aspin óta iskawác nántaw kákí ayácik isítwawin nititáwinik nántaw nikotwásik étatwáskínéyán. Mínisa é oci nanástomocik éko píci míkiswápik énócicikécik. Kákinaw awiyak kí wíkomáw éko ékota ana ayamiwéwikimáw kákí kakwé kipitinak ékwéniw éká ta itócikániwanik. Éko máka nisitotak ana ayamiwewikimaw, wesa maka asay wikataw. Asay mona takon anima isitwawin. (1968)

Carl Ray, quoted in James Stevens, Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971), xi. Carl Ray, quoted in James Stevens, “Paintings Recreate Ojibwa Past,” Winnipeg Free Press, December 7, 1968. 3 Carl Ray, quoted in James Stevens, “Paintings Recreate Ojibwa Past,” Winnipeg Free Press, December 7, 1968. 1



Carl Ray, Shaman, 1972 [cat. 88]


Carl Ray: library now displays his pen-ink sketches [CARL SCHUBRING], Fort Frances Times, OCTOBER 6, 1971

FORT FRANCES, ON — Carl Ray, the Cree Indian artist, displayed his paintings at last summer’s pow-wow in Fort Frances. Many people then were fascinated by the young artist and his legendary paintings. The Fort Frances Public Library is showing during October some 20 pen and ink drawings by the artist, thus giving viewers the opportunity of furthering their acquaintance with this unique painter. Carl Ray was born at Sandy Lake, where he lives with his family. The compulsion to express himself through painting manifested itself early when he was attending the Residential School at McIntosh, near Kenora. He is now a professional but self-taught painter. The Ojibway artist, Norval Morrisseau, who calls Carl his “little brother”, has been of great importance in Carl Ray’s development as an artist. It was Mr. Morrisseau who was responsible for lifting the taboo against painting the sacred legends, the field of painting in which Mr. Ray was interested primarily. The work of Mr. Ray has received recognition by being selected as part of the collections of Cultural Division of the Development of Indian Affairs, The Manitoba Centennial Corporation and the Royal Ontario Museum. He has had art shows at Brandon University, St. Laurent Plaza in Ottawa, Confederation College and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. The artist has been the recipient of two Canada Council grants. This year Mr. Ray has become known to a larger audience through the illustrations to the book Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree published by McClelland and Stewart. The legends, preserved in the memory of the older

story-tellers on the reserve, were translated by Carl Ray, who is himself highly knowledgeable about the legends of his people. The rendition of the legends was done by James Stevens, a collector of folklore. The myths of creation centered around the supernatural Wee-Sa-Kay-Jac have great beauty; some legends are highly dramatic, expressing the fear of the unknown, others are humoristic and grotesque. Their authenticity and directness is striking. A young Indian verified this impression by saying, “This is the way the legends were told at home, when I was a child.” The Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree together with Norval Morrisseau’s The Legends of my People represent for the young Indians of today a source of strength and a precious heritage which must not be forgotten. The painter is familiar with the traditional livelihood of the trapper; he has supported himself and his family as a commercial fisherman and a miner. He is now dedicating himself entirely to his painting and is also editor of Kitiwin, the newspaper of the Sandy Lake Reserve. Carl Ray’s pictures take their motifs from the world of the legends and the supernatural guided by careful observation of animals and human beings. The intensity of feeling, which characterizes the work of the true artist is there, and also the power and emotional impact stemming from deep compassion and suffering. It is because of this expression which Carl Ray portrays in his drawings and paintings that the Fort Frances Public Library is particularly pleased to present this display during the month of October.


Carl Ray, Medicine Bear, 1977 [cat. 101]


BIOGRAPHY Carl Ray (1943–1978) was born on the Sandy Lake Reserve, Ontario, and was of Cree heritage. Ray completed commissioned work (alongside Norval Morrisseau) for the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67, later receiving grants from the Canada Council (1969) and the Department of Health and Welfare, Indian Affairs Branch (1971). In 1971, Ray was an instructor at the Manitou Arts Foundation’s summer art camps at Schreiber Island (ON) and editor of the Kitiwin newspaper in Sandy Lake (ON). The Government of Ontario and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) sponsored the Northern Art Tour (1971–72), in which Ray and Norval Morrisseau toured through reserves and communities of Northern Ontario. Ray illustrated James Stevens’ book, Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree (1971), and also illustrated the cover of Tom Marshall’s book The White City (1976). Ray has had solo exhibitions at Brandon University, Manitoba (1969); Confederation College, Thunder Bay (1970); Aggregation Gallery, Toronto (1972–77); Galerie Fore, Winnipeg (1972); and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (1972). His work has also been displayed in a number of group exhibitions with other PNIAI members, including two exhibitions at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery: The Art of the Anishnabe

(1993) and Water, Earth and Air (1997). Other group exhibitions include: Canadian Indian Art ’74, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1974); Indian Art ’75, Woodland Indian Cultural Education Centre, Brantford (1975); Colours of Pride: Paintings by Seven Professional Native Artists / Fierté sur Toile, Dominion Gallery, Montreal (1975); Contemporary Native Art of Canada — The Woodland Indians, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1976); Contemporary Indian Art — The Trail from the Past to the Future, Trent University, Peterborough (1977); and Contemporary Indian Art at Rideau Hall, Department of Indian and North Affairs, Ottawa (1983). His work is held in numerous public and private collections, including: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (ON); Art Gallery of Ontario (ON); Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); McMichael Canadian Art Collection (ON); National Gallery of Canada (ON); Government of Ontario Art Collection (ON); and Winnipeg Art Gallery (MB). Major commissions include murals for the Sandy Lake Primary School, Ontario (1971) and the Sioux Lookout Fellowship and Communication Centre, Ontario (1973).


Carl Ray, The South Wind, 1972 [cat. 89]




JACKSON BEARDY If an elder tells me something, I cannot visualize exactly what he says because I am not him. I can only interpret what he says, incorporating my own life and philosophies. At one time, I tried to hide behind an Indian image of the fact that my paintings were based strictly on legends. Now that I am myself, free to express the feelings that I have, I can accept the responsibility of the people I represent. I add to the basic legends their integrity, their dignity. In that sense, I translate their oral art in a meaningful visual way.1 (1993) I can’t paint anything if I don’t have the background and the cultural knowledge to make it right. It wouldn’t be fair to my people and it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of Canada. 2 (1977) I paint what I believe. What is secret I don’t paint. 3 (1972)

Kisáspin kápé wítamawit kékwániw awa kayitéyátis, mwác mitoni nitisi wápaten anima káwí wítamawit wina isi pakán nísta inikok wína. Nikakí moci nókotán anima ká itwét nísta kákípé isi wápatamán éko ési nisitotamán kékwána ta pimitisayamán. Kayásk náwác, kí kakwé tápitawi ininíwin wina wésám piko anihi ácinókéwina kákí nitá masinipéyamán. Máka wina óma éko éyati nisitotásoyán, táti nókotáyan kékwána ká pakamiskákoyán nikakí itwán éko kawisk énókotáyán kákípé isi pimácihocik nitininímak anté oci nimasinayipéyikana. Ninokotan o kawisk itwéwiniwáw éko o kisténitákosiwiniwáw. Ékosi anima ési nókótáyán anihi ótácinókéwiniwáwa wina piko ana awiyak ta nisitotak ispík kinawápataki. (1993) Mwác nikí masinipéyén kékwán éka otína ékosi ékipé isi opikiyán éko ta isi kiskinahótinikawiyán ékosi isi kékwána. Móna kawisk ká itótawáwak nitinínímak éko mina kotakak ininiwak óta Canada. (1977) Ká isi tápwétaman ékosi nitisi masiniyépayén kékwána. Kékwána ká kanáténitákoki mwác nimasinahipéyén. (1972)

Jackson Beardy, quoted in Colleen Cutschall, “Jaxon Beerdi: Ambassador, Alchemist, Artist,” in Jackson Beardy: A Life’s Work, exhibition catalogue (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1993), 26. Jackson Beardy, quoted in Kathleen Walker, “Artist Keeps Legends Alive,” Ottawa Citizen, November 25, 1977. 3 Jackson Beardy, quoted in Jacqueline Fry, Treaty Numbers 23, 287,1171: Three Indian Painters of the Prairies, exhibition catalogue (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1972), 2. 1



A Main Street Indian: A Poem4 Jackson Beardy

It’s a long way to nowhere, Hands in my empty pockets, I’m following my scuffed boots that were once black, Making like tying them frayed shoelaces once in a while To pick up a juicy cigarette butt, or two. My mouth feels like a cotton factory; My head is throbbing with pain; Got drunk to forget everything for a while, Even forgot where I spent my last few dollars, If I spent them at all. The sidewalk is full of wooden people, They neither see nor hear me. What does one expect of a maze of concrete? The cold silence is deafening among this indifferent world – I hear only my empty stomach grinding in protest, They might as well not be before my eyes. I had friends, loads of them, But I guess they carry their friendship In their wallets like everyone else around here. I can’t even afford my own friendship, But then, I’m not sure I have a friend in me Considering the deceit and lies I’ve fed myself, And denying the truth to the one true friend I should have In this lonely world – me. I carry no cure in my tool box To brace my weak will to meet my other self At least half way. I’ve tried dozens of times to do it with booze, Only to know later my other self Passed me by on the other side of the street.

Yes, these beat-up boots have considered Pointing north again, but… The other year I went back a big man To my home reserve in great confidence, Armed to the teeth with White Man’s education: I stuck out like a sore thumb among the wilderness: My eight-year-old brother knew more Than I would ever learn in a lifetime. In supporting the life-style I thought I wanted, Hunting, trapping, fishing and helping my people, I tried, so help me, I tried! If there was one to receive a Sympathy Award, I had everyone beat by a few hundred miles. I came back a little man. As I walk the dismal streets of this city, Kicking a tin beer can ahead of me, I think bitterly of that invisible government That took me away from my folks so early, Only to be used as a psychological sop To relieve society’s major hang-up. They denied me the right to experience My identity and my culture, They denied me the right to experience The intricacies of the White world, While they stripped me of my pride and dignity In a secluded government boarding school During the crucial twelve years of my life. I emerged a learned man with a hollow soul. After a few faltering steps, I fell flat on my face – I had never learned to walk in either world. I was born of the noble Indian race, Bred in the confines of a government test-tube, And released a zombie.5

In “Jackson Beardy – Life and Art,” Kenneth James Hughes writes that this is “an untitled and unrevised draft of a poem from this period – one that may well be called ‘Main Street Indian,’” special issue, Canadian Dimension 14, no. 2 (1979): 15. Jackson Beardy, “A Main Street Indian: A Poem,” reproduced by Kenneth James Hughes in “Jackson Beardy – Life and Art,” special issue, Canadian Dimension 14 no. 2 (1979): 15-17.




Jackson Beardy, Rebirth, 1976 [cat. 10]


Kici Meskanak Otenak: Masinahikéwinis ká Ayamitániwak Jackson Beardy

Wánaw anima móna nántaw ité, É pításkocicéniyán éko móna kékwán ita asowatéw, Épimotéyan, épíkanakoki nimaskisina éko mána mitoni ékí wásiko kaskitéwaki, Mwéci mána éwí takopitamán anihi nimaskisina, Ta mósakinakik aníhi cistémá iskwásikanisak, Éko náspic épástéwitónimacihóyán, Náspic niwísakistikwánán, Éki kískwépéyán kita póni nánákatáwénitamihikóyán kékwán kanakwé wina ácináw, Apók éká kiskénitamán tánté kápé méstinak nisóniyán, Kisáspin otína nikíápaciyáw ékosi isi, Miscétiwak náspic ininiwak anta méskanák, Mwéci éká éwápamicik wéká apók ta pétawicik, Ékwáni máka wína ékosi óta kici oténák, Pákwátikwan éká awiyak éwí nóté natotásk, Natíy piko nipétén inikok énótékatéyán, Kiyám ékwani, ékwani isi ápok éká takí wápamakik. Kí otótémin, kí miscétiwak, Máka anima étoké wínawáw ká isi otótémicik, Tánikok ké osóniyámicik, Mwác kanaké apók kékwán nikaki atáwéstamason nína, Máka mina, mwác náspic óma nitápwékénimison, Pakwanta é ayamiyán é kakwé pákacimisoyan, Éko éká énatotawak awa máwaci takí natotawa Ota askík-nína. Mona kékwán nipimotátan, Ta wíciyáyán óma káwí paskinasoyan ta wicihisoyan, Kanaké wina áskaw. Miscétwá ki kakwé ápaciyán minikwéwin, Táti moci kiskénitamán mwéstas, Nété kwéskité méskanák óma énánakiskásoyán/ Táw ásáy mina óki nimaskisina, Kíwétinok nóté itotémakanwa, máka… Óta iskawánik kákí kiwéyán, Nitiskonikanik isi éko náspic kí mamísoténimison,


Náspic ékí kiskénitamáyán móniyás isi, Kakinaw awiyak kí wápamik, Ekci kékwán é oci kiskénitamán apók nisimis paskinawit, Wína asáy ékiskénitak kékwána inikok nína tapé pétamán, Ta oci wa wicihisoyan oma kanoté isi pimaciphoyan Ta wanihikeyán, ta máciyán, ta nócikinoséwéyán ta wícihakik nitininímak, Nikí kakwé itótén ékwéniw, tápwé nikí kakwé itótén! Kisáspin kí mékinániwak awina ké paskinákét mawác pakwanta kitimákwéniténitamowin, Kakinaw awiyak nitákí paskinawáw, Ékí pé sipwéyámoyán. Éko óta ká papámotéyán kici óténák, Épapámiyépiskamán píwápiskos, Enánákatawénimakik anikik kici Wanasowéwikimáwak, Kákípé sipwétayicik anté oci kákípé sákihikawiyán, Tapé moci kakwátakihikawiyán, Ékí kakwé méscihikawiyák, Kí otinamákok ta wápatamán, Ta isi kiskénimisóyán éko ta isi pimácihoyán, Kí otinamákok ta wápatamán Éspíci nakacitát awa émistikósiw, Ékí otinamawit nikisténimowin éko nikisténitákosiwin, Óté kiskinawátowikamikok wánaw oci níkik, Mékwác é oskátisyán káti opikiyán. Niki kiskénitamán ispík é wanawíyán máka mwác nitóci sókiyéyán. Kiyám áta ékí kakwé kawisk itótamán, mwác nitoci kaskitánMwac nitóci kiskénitén tánté taki oci pimacihisoyán, Ininíwi kí isi nitáhikin, Máka móniyániniw kí opikihik ékí kakwé méskwatátisihit

Éko anóc ni moci papamotán é wanisinán.

Artist Beardy revives tribal culture VIRGINIA NIXON, Montreal Gazette, May 12, 1979

MONTREAL, QC — Ojibway artist, Jackson Beardy is a man with a mission. Not that he lays on a message either in person or in his art. On the contrary, he was soft-spoken, humorous and attentive when I talked to him at the Galerie Martal (1330 Sherbrooke St. W.) where he’s exhibiting his oil and acrylic paintings and prints until May 26. But he spoke with conviction as he described his life – from a childhood spent with his grandmother in Garden Hill Reserve in Manitoba, through school years in a government boarding school, cultural confusion as a young man and finally self-understanding and success as an artist – as the working out of a role implanted in him at an early age. As Beardy tells it, this role, early recognized by his grandmother, was that of a tribal orator – historian, traditionalist and storyteller for his community. As it happened the medium turned out to be visual rather than verbal, but the result is the same. The road has had twists and turns. In boarding school in his teens, Beardy painted his nightmarish dreams of sinister bird spectres as a way of getting rid of them, but he always destroyed these works. However, he wanted to be an artist. And when the school head dismissed such a prospect with the remark that “artists were beatniks,” he studied commercial art. This was a step in the right direction, he says “but I still didn’t know where I was going.” “I went up north (to the reserve) only to find out I was considered a misfit in my own community.

“I had to re-educate myself into the language, re-establish family contacts, and I had to learn to think as an Indian again. My thought process had gone almost white. “I was asking too many questions. And I wanted answers right away. My behaviour made me look like a researcher. They shut me out. The only ones I could get to were the children. And I talked to the old, but in general I didn’t fit into social circuits . . . Then I wanted to go back and see what I could do in the white world.” The public of course wasn’t much interested in art. “And the idea of Indian painting was something else again. Ours was looked on as a dead culture – either museum pieces or souvenir art,” he says. In fact, at this point in the early 1960s, two other Indian artists later to become well-known, Norval Morrisseau and the late Carl Ray, were also working not far away, but Beardy didn’t know this. Back in Winnipeg he studied art at the University of Manitoba, didn’t fit in and finally quit formal studies thanks to the wise advice of his mentor, Inuit art expert George Swinton who asked him one day: “Do you want a little piece of paper that says you’re an artist or do you want to be an artist?” “At this point I had both feet on solid foundations,” says Beardy “though they were in different canoes.” By the mid-1980s he was beginning to get attention and customers for his art, in particular “among the teachers, preachers and Indian affairs people on the reserve,” and among the medical people.


The latter he was seeing quite a lot of, thanks to a serious ulcer problem brought on by alcohol – “the bottle as a painkiller.” Beardy struggled with alcoholism for 12 years until he finally joined AA about four years ago. Today at 35 he looks the picture of health. In his earlier work Beardy says he felt like an illustrator for an Indian version of Grimms Fairy Tales. However as his own confidence and the confidence of his people in him developed, he abandoned the literal illustrations of legends. His work now is concerned with suggesting the

“But it helps,” he says “if the credibility of your culture is accepted by other societies. And it’s been a major breakthrough for our culture that it has been accepted as having something to add to the culture of all Canadians.” Harder for the Indians to deal with in his view “learning to understand the mechanisms of bureaucracy. Indian politicians have to ostracize themselves in a sense from their people to learn how to get into the realities of business.” Beardy runs his own gallery, showing his works in Winnipeg, and is self-supporting from his art.

underlying philosophical and religious attitudes of Individual Indian traditions. The basic mood of his vividly-coloured depictions of birds, animals and people, usually linked together by thin, wavy lines, is one of the unity and the interconnections both physical and spiritual between all creatures. How about other Indians? Do they feel as strongly about Indian traditions and spiritually as he does? “Well,” says Beardy, “the permissive society’s saying ‘do your own thing’ has brought the elders out of the woodwork. And they’re saying, ‘we haven’t lost our culture. We’ve been doing this all the time, sometimes under the guise of the church.’ ” “But,” he adds, “it’s going to take a while for the young people to understand. Right now they are tending to question the middle-aged generation, who are the interpreters for the elders, asking why they didn’t speak out before.”

Prices in the Martal show range from $150 to $4000. “A major problem,” he says is “the fact that in the last 300 years my people have psyched themselves into a welfare psychology – a wardsof-the-government psychology . . . a somebody owes them something way of thinking.” As for Indian art, Beardy says he does feel he is “part of a movement but it’s a very subtle thing. There are a lot of Indian artists coming out who don’t really understand what they are doing. “In a way I feel quite a lot of envy because when I was starting out there was no one to set an example for me. But really, I’m also thankful I had to discover things myself,” he says.


Jackson Beardy, Spirit Being, 1978 [cat. 13]


BIOGRAPHY Jackson Beardy (1944–1984) was born on the Garden Hill Reserve (Island Lake, Manitoba) and was of Cree ancestry. Beardy studied commercial art at the Winnipeg Vocational School (1963–64) and later took art classes at the University of Manitoba. Throughout his career, Beardy served as a member of numerous arts organizations, including: National Indian Art Council, Ottawa; Prison Arts Foundation, Ottawa; Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg; and Canadian Artists Representation / le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC). He also served as the president of the Canadian Indian Artists Association and was founder and president of Ningik Arts (1972). He is the recipient of the Canadian Centennial Medal (1967), the Junior Achievement Award (1974), and the Outstanding Young Manitoban Award (1982). Beardy has acted as art adviser and cultural consultant to the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (1971), the Department of Native Studies at Brandon University (1972), and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) (1981). While at DIAND, he authored Indian Fine Arts: A Policy and Programme to guide the programming and collecting of the department. A noted book illustrator, he was also contracted by the department to record and illustrate the “legends of the people” while travelling throughout the North. His illustrations have been published in John Morgan’s book, When the Morning Stars Sang Together (1974).


Beardy also designed the cover art for two books: Leonard Peterson’s Almighty Voice (1976), and Basil Johnston’s Ojibway Heritage (1976). Beardy’s first exhibition was sponsored by United College in Winnipeg in 1966. He was soon after selected to participate in the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec. Since that time his work has received recognition in Canada and Europe, including a retrospective exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1993. His work has been exhibited in several group exhibitions, including: Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171, Winnipeg Art Gallery (1972), and New Work by a New Generation (along with Morrisseau and Odjig), MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina (1982). His work is held in numerous public and private collections, including: Canada Council Art Bank (ON); Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); Glenbow Museum (AB); Manitoba Arts Council (MB); McMichael Canadian Art Collection (ON); Supreme Court of Canada (ON); Thunder Bay Art Gallery (ON); Windsor Castle (UK); and Winnipeg Art Gallery (MB). His major commissions include works for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada; commemorative pieces for the centennials of Canada and Manitoba; gifts for Prince Mikasa, Crown Prince of Japan (1980), Queen Elizabeth II (1979), and Governor General Edward Schreyer (1979); and murals for the Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg (1978) and the Indian Family Centre, Winnipeg (1984–85).

Jackson Beardy, Four Orders of Life, 1976 [cat. 9]



JOSEPH SANCHEZ My life then and now is informed by a cultural and ceremonial life blessed with the guidance and wisdom of many elders. (2012) The strength of the group allowed me to exhibit in places I could only dream of being included. (2009)

I was born just before the full moon on February 24, 1948, of Pueblo, Spanish, and German parents in Trinidad, Colorado, and spent my formative years on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation, graduating from Alchesay High School in Whiteriver, Arizona, where my family continues to reside to-day. Painting began for me in 1956 at the encouragement of my fifth grade teacher, Ms. Guiterrez; paint-ing on glass and embroidery were quickly followed by fantasy nudes of my female classmates that were confiscated constantly by my teachers. Large realistic pencil portraits of friends and family honed my skills. As the school artist I was adept in creating posters, et al. for every event that hap-pened. My personal studies of art in the high school library were my introduction to the art of the Re-naissance and eventually to surrealism and Dada. My personal “surrealist” style began to formalize in 1968 during my years as a United States Marine with a drawing on newsprint entitled Unconsummated Rape of Mongo, a first look into my psyche. It was a newer version done in the early 1970s that I showed Daphne Odjig in Winnipeg during the fall of 1972 that she purchased and created a print of that started a career that continues today. Meeting Daphne Odjig in 1971 is the reason I am an artist today. As a mentor and friend, she encour-aged my talent and coached my ability

as an artist and art professional. The result is this amazing ca-reer as an artist, activist, and art professional. Though mainly self taught, I have acquired a unique education in the fine arts through the skills and valuable critique of the many artists and art profes-sionals I have worked with as collaborator, assistant, exhibition designer, curator, and museum direc-tor provided me with. The creation of PNIAI, the Native Group of Seven, in 1974 gave me experience to help found Mo-vimiento Artistico del Rio Salado (MARS) and Ariztlan in Arizona; and NAAO, the National Association of Artists’ Organizations. This activist attitude developed exhibitions, changed museums, and created artist-in-school programs with an intent to share these experiences with the native community and especially our children. In 1974 I was commissioned to create the painting The Virgin of Light to be given as the award for Multiculturalism in Music, first presented at the 1974 Juno Awards. I was measured and photo-graphed with my painting for the Toronto Wax Museum. Another commission for the 1974 Winnipeg Centennial resulted in Fertility Totem, a nine-foot sculpture of Manitoba cedar installed in the FrancoManitoban Centre in St. Boniface, Manitoba. The youngest member of Canada’s Native Group of Sev-en, I was married to Ann Nadine Krajeck; we shared a shack in Richer, Manitoba, for many


years and together purchased a twenty-acre farm in Giroux, Manitoba. I returned and repatriated to the United States under President Gerald Ford’s amnesty program in February of 1975. I continued to travel to my farm in Giroux, Manitoba, until I sold the property in the late 1970s. A career in the museum world started in Scottsdale at the then Scottsdale Center for the Arts as a se-curity guard, then in installations and design, before I was recruited by the Phoenix Art Museum to be their preparator. The cultural exchange with the University of Guadalajara in

to bring the Norval Morris-seau retrospective and the Daphne Odjig retrospective from the National Gallery of Canada to the then Institute of American Indian Arts Museum; and inviting the United States’ Biennial Curator for Lance Fung’s Lucky Number 7 at Site Santa Fe Biennial remain highlights of a thirty-plus-year career in the museum world. I retired from the museum in February of 2010, returning to my studio on Lena Street to paint and write. Receiving the Allan Houser Memorial Award at the 2006 New Mexico Governor’s Awards for

Mexico was the catalyst that created my own museum design studio, allowing me to work with all the museums and artists in the Phoenix area curating and designing First Contact…the search in 1982, my first major exhibition as a curator. I kept my studio on Cattletrack Road with Philip C. Curtis and Fritz Scholder as my neigh-bours in Scottsdale, Arizona, for twenty-two years and shared a studio in downtown Phoenix with Jim Covarrubias during the nineties. This studio was a meeting place for artists and performers and was instrumental in the creation of many large-scale works and the character “Indiodali.” In 1991, I met and married Margaret Burke, moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, her home and my old childhood stomping grounds, in 1999. In 2002, I volunteered at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, was hired as their exhibition coordinator, and went on to become Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the renamed Museum of Contemporary Native Art. The creation of Indigenous Dialogue: Indian Art for Indian People; the Bob Haozous retrospective, Relations: Indigenous Dialogue; the negotiations

the Arts for artistic excellence and community involvement is a highlight of recognition for being an activist for Native arts. Since 1970 I have had the opportunity to develop artist organizations, curate exhibitions, direct mu-seums, and share my experiences with schoolchildren. I have also had the pleasure to experience, work with, and learn from many artists and art professionals around the world including: Daphne Odjig, Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morrisseau, Alex Janvier, Guenther Uecker, Rotraut, George Segal, Nor-man Bluhm, Manuel Neri, Jesús Bautista Moroles, Luis Jiménez, Philip C. Curtis, Jean Paul Ledeur, Yves Klein Archives, William Wiley, Fletcher Benton, Roberto Matta Echaurren, Jean Tinguely, and Bob Haozous. I especially acknowledge my two mentors, Daphne Odjig and Philip C. Curtis (founder of the Phoenix Art Museum), who have been essential to my success as an artist.


Joseph Sanchez, 2013

Joseph Sanchez, Unconsummated Rape of Mongo, 1970 [cat. 105]


Dtandtu edeghesnai yanisi ghodtzi dughuh ghodtzen eyi dtandtu dene tchaniyeh chu edetzeghelnai chu gha ghughes ei ghidta ghuzuh ghesgal, ghoteghe setzeghedi ghu ghesahl, alnethi seseyadighiltih ghidta. (2012) Etlutzeghedel ghidta ahtla nadtzetzed ghokesih setzeghedi ghidta setzi asi dta neghedtih anideh ghunidhen ghili eyi nedtih gha ghudja, nadtzeteh ghokesih. (2009)

Sa thebeth dtonega ghu February 24, 1948 ghu seneyah, Pueblo chu Spanish chu German chu tzi aneh dene ghestli, Trinidad, Colorado ghodtzi, sekuwi nedtchili ghestli ghu White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation eyed dene ghel niyah. Alchesay High School, White River, Arizona eyed ghasuneltaghn enasdhen ghodtzen. Eyed selodtine ahtlo budelaghn. 1956 ekughu asi ghedestled ghadja ni, sekwi ghaunelteghni sesyadiltih ghidta, Ms. Guiterrez ghulye ni. Yak’e ke asi ghedestled ghudtthi, tluli senibane dtah tthi asi nesui ghesgha ghadja ni, ku eyed ghokesi tzekuwi ildtedi dadestlis ghajani, dta bel ghasuneltegheni dadestlis nesdhen ghidta, kulu eyi eghai dtu seghah naltzi tli ni. Tlischene dta sedtzedeni dahli chu selodtine chu dadestlis ghodtzi bekenasdhed ghadjai dta bekodesha ghasneh ghadja ni. Eyed sekuwi ghaunelteghni kuwe dtaghoneh ghasi gha editlis dughutlis dtasetzedi ghidta asi dadestlis sildhen tli ni eyed. Eyed dta editlis keghonih kuwe editlis danesih ghidta yanisi dta asi daditlis gha ghoni ghegah nisi bekeyasti ghudtthi danesih ghidta Rennaissance sni chu surrealism chu dada chu gha ghughilah ni. Sih setzi kesih edestlisih “surrealist” sni eyi 1968 ghulduh kundtu edetlisi bek’udehjah, United States Marine ghilei ekughu, ghoni ditliseh ke dughulyei editlis thiltzi ni ekughu ghodtzi Unconsummated Rape of Mongo, ekughu ghodtzi ghulduh dtandtu asi gha nanighesdhedi buduhdtih ni. Eyi degodhi nathiltzi 1970 bunidhed ghu, eyi Daphne Odjig yenighilih ghastla ni, Winnipeg naghidhedi ekughu, eyi ghaidtasi ghu segha


nayeghelni ghu tthi nayeltzi nih eyi ghodtzi dtandu asi destlisih bedta la sedtzi ghadjai dta ghaiya ni, dughu ghodtzen ahtlo kunduh eghaladeghesdah dte bedtah. Daphne Odjig 1971 ekughu, eyi bekudeshai ghidta si edestlisi gha sekudehjai dughuh ghodtzen. Sedtzedi ghelih ghighane tthi ghasunelteghn landtu seseyadiltih ghidta ghotegheh nesdhen ghu sedihtliseh nedtih gha dtandtu nezu bunildhen ghili kesih beghalaghesna ghadja ni. Eyed ghodtzi dughu ghodtzen ghoghanodiya landtu seditliseh bekudehjani si, dtatzenghili tchasi asi kenadtzedei basi yasti ghudtthi, asi dedtlisih basi tthi professional ghesli kesih sek’aunedtah dteh. Si ghadudenestaghn kulu dta bel eghadalaghesnai dahli chu dta asi dene kundti asi kenadei chu dta dayenildheni chu sel kudadi ghidta ghadasuneltaghn denela dta asi detlisi ghoteghe bekudesha. Thagha ghodtzi asi keghoni kuwe gha director ghestli ghu eghalghinai chu dene bel asi ghadalaghina nighilei kundti asi basi, eyi tthi dtasi asi nezu destlis ghajai. PNIA Inc. gholi ni eyi bedtzi ane Native Group of Seven thiltzih 1974 ekughu. Didi dtandtu beghalathidai ghade didi tthi bek’odja ghostla, eyi, Movimiento Artistico del Rio Salado(MARS),eyi ghel tthi, Ariztlan in Arizona gholih ni.NAAO tthi la, National Association of Artists Organizations. Didi asi k’enatzedhed kesi dene k’aunedtai dta asi tthi nedtih gha ghotleh ghadja museums dalih yeh, eyi ghel tthi artist ghaunelteghni kuwe nadei tthi beba programs tthi ghegah, didi eyi bedtah dene benene ke’ dene godhe ghogha dayalti ghudtthi yenideni gha.

1974 ekughu editlis dughutlis dtajetledi dta, setzedi ni, The Virgin of Light ghulyei, eyi dene tahlye gha ah sni, Multiculturalism in Music ahtla nitzidehl desi. Didi dta tthe dene tahdalya ni Juno awards nighilei 1974 ghu. Dtaghasyaghi ghoteghe suwiltzai ghudtthi sedetlis ni dta editlis ghedighitledi gathiyi ghu, eyi Toronto Wax Museum budedtih si. Ahtlo ihtlah tthi sutzelked ni 1974 ghu, eyi Winnipeg Centennial gha wultzi sedtzedi ah eyi gha tthi Fertility Totem ghighadh ni dechen dta Manitoba cedar dechene dta. Eyi Franco -Manitoban Centre, St. Boniface keyagha

ghodtzi museums chu dta asi daditlis kudadelyai chu bekudadesha, eyi bedta si sedaghade beseyadiltih dta First Contact ...the search gholi ni 1982 ghu, didi si dtahtthe sedaghade asi nedtih gha asi nethe ghothiltzi, thagha ghodtzi asi nedtih kesi ghultai keyagha. Si sedtzi studio ghauthesai dte ni Cattletrack Road, Philip C Curtis chu Fritz Scholder sega nadei ekughu Scottsdale Arizona eyed nonena tzen nake ghaiye, eyi ghel tthi yayagha kuwe Phoenix keyagha tthi Jim Covarrubias bel studio ghaughesah nighile 90’s ekughu. Didi studio eyed ahtla nitzidihli kuwe

budedtih. Canada’s Native Group of Seven ghel sultai, si nandedi ni, Ann Nadine Krajeck eyi beganida ni eyed ghodtzi. Ghaninidtas ghu Richer, Manitoba naghidthed yohazeh ye, gholani nene ke eyed naghidthed.Eyed ghokesi farm nauthilni naghidthed 20 acres ghelyai, Giroux, Manitoba ghulei kuwe gah. Gerald Ford, President ghethelih ghu, United States gha, ekughu yanagha senene tzen naghasja ni amnesty program bekaunedtai dta, February sa 1975 ekughu. Yedtthehghe nahsdai ni ekosih ghodtzi Giroux Manitoba ghodtzen, kosdtih ghindtu eyi nih chu farm chu segha naghani ghodtzen 1970’s k’eghasi gha nudeldthed ghu. Thagha ghodtzi asi keghoni kuwe eghalonina, dtah tthe Scottsdale ghulyei kuwe keyagha, eyed ekughu Scottsdale Centre for the Arts kesih ghultah ni. Yo ghuwelni dene ghestli ghu eyed eghalonina ni. Ku eyed ghodtzi asi dekelyei chu ghotlei chu tthi gha eghalaghasna silya ni, eyed ghodtthe tthi Phoenix Art Museum tthi eghalaghina nighile eyi beba asi tzetagha ghalyei kesih beba asi sedildhen nighile.Dene tchaniyeh dene gha nalyei dta University of Guadalajara Mexico bel asi ehlnaghalya nighilei eyi kesih si sedtzi museum kesi sedtzi studio thiltzi ni edegha. Eyed ghokesih dta Phoenix tzenildwi kuwe dagholai

kesi dta asi dene editlis daditlis kudadelyai chu nedauldei kudadelyai chu ahtla nidihli dta asi nedtchai tla ghega ihtlaghi dene “Indiodali” ghuhlyei bekodja ja nisi eyed ghodta. 1991 ekughu Margaret Burke bekudesha ghu beganidah ni, eyed ghodtzi Santa Fe, New Mexico ghodtzen ghethidtas ni eyed naghidhed gheni, edini benene ghu si tthi ekuk’e sedtzodelthi nadti ni sekuwi ghestli ghu, 1999 ghu. 2002 ekughu Institute of American Arts Museum eyed asi na ghileghi dene betzesni dta eyed eghalaghinah. Eyed ghodtzi Deputy Director ghestli ja ghuldu Chief Curator tthi ghestli ja, bizi degodhi naghodtli ni Museum of Contemporary Native Art ghulye ghalya ni. Eyed ghodtzi Indigenous Dialogue: Indian Art for Indian People gholih ni. Bob Haozous bedtzi yanisi ghodtzi, Relations: dene ehtleldayalti, Norval Morriseau bedtzi yanisi ghodtzi chu Daphne Odjig bedtzi yanisi ghodtzi chu asi dadihtlis nisi National Gallery of Canada ghodtzi Institute of American Indian Arts Museum negholyel didi nighileh ni eyi ghel tthi United States ghodtzi nake ghaiye nilthagha ghenih Curator ghelih gha ba Lance Fung bedtzi Lucky Number 7 eyi tthi Site Santa Fe Biennial gha asi nedtih gha benaghonih toghnena azi ghaiye eyed museum world ghel eghalaghinai ghodtah. Eyed


Museum eghalaghinai enasdhen February sa k’e gh 2010 ghu, eyed ghodtzi sedtzi studio nedanesja ni Lena Street k’e ghoah ni asi ghedestled ghudtthi edestlis gheni. Allan Houser bedtzi Memorial Award saunendi ni 2006 ghu New Mexico ghodtzi Governor ‘s Awards asi daditlis tai asi ghegai basi tai gheni thi eyi saunendi ni, ghotegheh ghunidhen ghidta chu kugheh k’eyagha tthi dene bedtzesni nunesni bek’aunedtai dta desikedhe nene bedtzi tthi asi nezus Native arts basi desi ni ghodta. 1970 ekughu ghodtzi dene dahli bedtzedasni

ghedadetledi chu asi gheghai chu tlai bekosha didi nih ke ghodtzi dtalosi tzen ghodtzi, didi dene dta ahlesi: Daphne Odjig, Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morriseau, Alex Janvier, Guenther Uecker, Rotraut, George Segal, Norman Bluhm, Manuel Neri, Jesus Bautista Moroles, Luis Jimenez, Philip C. Curtis, Jean Paul Ledeur, Yves Klein Archives, William Wiley, Fletcher Benton, Roberto Matta Echaurren,Jean Tinguely chu Bob Haozous chu. Nadene dene eyi ghadasuneltaghn ghidta ghotegheh ghaiya ghadjai eyi Daphne Odjig chu Philip C. Curtis ahlesihs, (eyi bedtazi Phoenix Art

ghidta artist organizations tthi ghegah ghu, asi nedtih gha tthi dahlyei tthi beseyadighiltih ghudtthi museums dahli tthi dtandtuh bedtzighini ghili tthi kudastla, sekuwi tthi bel dayasti ghu dtandtu ghuthiyai gha bel daghosni tthi nighile.Eyi ghel tthi dta asi dene bekudadejai asi daditlis chu asi

Museum gholih).


Joseph Sanchez, 2013

Joseph Sanchez, Business Man’s Lunch, 1973 [cat. 111]


Joseph Sanchez, Fertility Totem, 1973 [cat. 112]


BIOGRAPHY Joseph Sanchez (b. 1948) was born in Trinidad, Colorado. He is an artist and curator of Spanish, German, and Pueblo descent currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1982–84 he served as a board member of the National Association of Artist Organizations. In 2010, Sanchez retired as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (formerly the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum), where he had worked since 2002. In 2011, Sanchez was the Contemporary Curator of the exhibition Native American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth University, Hanover, New Hampshire. Sanchez was the recipient of the Allan Houser Memorial Award for outstanding artistic achievement and community service in 2006 and was a curatorial partner for the 7th International Biennial at Site Santa Fe in 2008. The only non-Canadian artist of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Sanchez served in the United States Marine Corps before moving to Canada. He met Daphne Odjig in 1971 while living outside of Winnipeg in Richer, Manitoba, and was instrumental in the formation of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. In 1975, Sanchez was repatriated under the Gerald Ford Presidential Amnesty and moved to Arizona, where he was involved with the formation of the artist groups MARS (Movimiento Artistico del Rio Salado) and Ariztlan in 1978. In 1983 Sanchez founded ARTS, a service to design exhibitions, provide curatorial services, administer collections, and provide consulting for

individuals, artists, and museums. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Mexico, England, and the United States, including: Canadian Indian Art ’74, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1974); Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Wallack Galleries, Ottawa (1975); Colours of Pride: Paintings by 7 Professional Native Artists / Fierté sur Toile, Dominion Gallery, Montreal (1975); Ghost Dance, West Coast Gallery, Newport Beach, California (1981); Spirits of the Earth, West Valley Art Museum, Sun City, Arizona (2004); Governor’s Awards for the Arts Exhibition, Governor’s Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (2006); Grandmothers and Angels, Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta (2012) and My Winnipeg, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2012). His work is held in numerous collections, including: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (ON); Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); Heard Museum (AZ); Institute of American Indian Arts (NM); MacKenzie Art Gallery (SK); Northern Supply Corporation (MB); and many private American, Canadian, and European collections. His commissions include Fertility Totem, for the Société Franco-Manitoban, St. Boniface (1974); Virgin of Light, the Douglas McGowan Award for CHIN Radio International, Toronto (1974); and a mural titled La Fiesta es La Síntesis de la Raza, for the Del Webb Corporation Fiesta Room at Arizona State University College of Business, Tempe (1980).


Joseph Sanchez, Invitation of a French Maiden, 1975 [cat. 116]


Joseph Sanchez, The Rattle, 1975 [cat. 117]



NORVAL MORRISSEAU 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.1 (1979) There’s lots of stories that are told in Ojibwa but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to draw them – that’s from my own self – my own idea what they look like. 2 (2005) The spirit comes through you. It is a very creative force, you see. You could be a singer, you could be a writer, you could be a painter, you could be anything if you allow that spirit to flow. 3 (2005) I am a born artist. I have as much interest in my people as any anthropologist, and I have studied our culture and lore. My aim is to reassemble the pieces of a once proud culture, and to show the dignity and bravery of my people. My paintings depict my own uncorrupted impressions of Ojibway beliefs and legends, gods and creatures. The Department of Indian Affairs once wanted to give me art lessons, but I refused. In my opinion this would spoil me, for there is no one who can teach me this kind of painting.4 (1969) 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. 5 (1979) 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.6 (1979)

Norval Morrisseau, quoted in Jack Pollack and Lister Sinclair, The Art of Norval Morrisseau (Toronto: Methuen Press, 1979), 7. Norval Morrisseau,Norval Morrisseau, Return to the House of Invention (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2005), 92. Ibid. 4 Norval Morrisseau, Windigo and Other Tales of the Ojibways (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1969), 7. 5 Norval Morrisseau, quoted in Jack Pollack and Lister Sinclair, The Art of Norval Morrisseau (Toronto: Methuen, 1979), 7. 6 Ibid. 1

2 3


Giigidoomagan nimazinibii’igewin. Niibowa oganoonigonaawaa’ awiyag bigo endanaakeziwaad, bigo enwewaad, bigo gaye gegoo ge-gibishkaagemagakipan, mii owe ezhi-gichi-inendaagozid Anishinaabe ojachaakwan. (1979) Niibowa gii-anishinaabemom wiindamaageng dibaajimowinan, gaawiin idash ningii-nayendanzii. Nawach ningii-noonde-mazinibii’aanan aaniin gaa-inaabandamaan, aaniin niin enendamaan ezhinaagoziwaad. (2005) Giin onjise gaa-manidoowiwang. Aapiji miinigoowiziwemagan aaniish. Gidaa-nagam, gidaa-ozhibii’ige, gidaa-mazinibii’ige, bigo gegoo gidaa-gashkitoon bagidinaman iwe miinigoowiziwin ji-wiiji’igooyan. (2005) Ningii-giginitaawig ji-mazinibii’igeyaan. Daabishkoo awe gaa-naanaagaji’aad bemaadizinid, ningii-naanaagadawaabandaan gidizhitwaawininaan dago gidibaajimowininaanan. Ningagwe-zagakinaanan aabiding ini gaa-gii-gichi-inendaagwakin ji-waabanda’iweyaan omino-bimaadiziwiniwaa’ zhigwa ozoongide’ewiniwaa’ niijanishinaabeg. Nimazinibii’igewinan wiindamaagemaganoon aaniin niin enaabandamaan Anishinaabeg debwetamowaad, omanidoomiwaa’ dago bakaan bemaadaninig. Aabiding zhooniyaawigimaa ningii-noonde-onatamaag ji-mazinibii’igeyaan, ningii-aanawendaan idash. Niingii-inendam nawach nindaa-maji-nanama’igon, gaawiin aaniish awiya owe nindaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagosii ji-izhibii’igeyaan. (1969) Nindizhitwaawin enaadiziyaan ate nimazinibii’igewining. Apane go gaa-nitaawigiyaan wiiji’igoowiziyaan, apane go ningii-bi-inendam aapiji nitaawibii’igeyaan. Ono eta gaa-ayinaadizing, gaa-waabishkiwe’aadizing gizhibaayaa’ii ningii-ondami’igonan ji-mememshkwadendamaan wegonenan gechi-inendaagwakin. Gaawiin idash gii-wendasinoon owe. Mii zhigwa nisimidana ashi naanan daswaaki ojijiseg, wiiji’igoyaan nimishoomis gaa-gii-gagiikimid minik ji-zhaangaso-bibooneyaan, ninayendaan owe bimaadiziwin akiing. Zhigwa ninisidawinaan manidoo debi-zoongaadizid. (1979) Nimamaandaawi-mazinibii’ige. Gete ako, gaa-mamaandaawizid gii-gashki’ewiziwichige mamaandaawitood gegoo ji-aabajichigaadenig. Mii dash iinzan gii-wiiji’iwemaganoon ji-wiiji’igoowizid awiya. Nimazinibii’igewinan gaye wiiji’iwemaganoon ji-gikendang awiya mamaandaawiziwinan odebwetamowining zhigwa ogikendaasowining onji. Nindinendam igaye ji-mamaandaawi-gagiikweyaan. Ninginigawinaanan gibimaadiziwininaanan dago gimanidoowaadiziwinaanan ji-gikendaagwakin. (1979)


Norval Morrisseau, Shaman Rider, 1972 [cat. 53]


Norval Morrisseau, My Children Watching a Dragon Fly, 1975 [cat. 60]


BIOGRAPHY Norval Morrisseau (1932–2007) was raised on the Sand Point Reserve near Lake Nipigon and was of Ojibwa descent. Since his first solo exhibition at the Pollock Gallery, Toronto, in 1962, Morrisseau’s career has been marked by firsts. He was the only painter from Canada invited to exhibit in the Magiciens de la Terre / Magicians of the Earth exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1989), and he was the first artist of First Nations descent to have a retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2006). A recipient of numerous awards and honours in his lifetime, Morrisseau received the Canadian Centennial Medal (1968), was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (1973), and was inducted into the Order of Canada (1978). In 1980, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by McMaster University. He was acknowledged as Grand Shaman of the Ojibway in Thunder Bay (1986) and honoured by the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Conference in Ottawa (1995). Morrisseau was among the artists selected to participate in the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec, and was a founding member of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. In 1971, Norval Morrisseau and fellow PNIAI member Carl Ray toured reserves and communities of Northern Ontario as part of a federally sponsored Northern Art Tour (1971–72). He was also featured in the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary The Colours of Pride (1973) with Alex Janvier and Daphne Odjig. In 1974, a documentary titled The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau was released by the National Film Board of Canada. Morrisseau wrote and illustrated Legends of My People, The Great Ojibway

(1965) and co-authored Norval Morrisseau: Travels to the House of Invention (1997). Morrisseau has exhibited in major solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including: Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1967); Canadian Indian Art ’74, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1974); Contemporary Native Art of Canada – The Woodland Indians, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1976); Contemporary Indian Art at Rideau Hall, Ottawa (1983); Norval Morrisseau and the Image Makers, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1984); and Honouring Norval Morrisseau (1932–2007), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2009). His work is held in numerous public and private collections, including: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (ON); Art Gallery of Hamilton (ON); Art Gallery of Ontario (ON); Art Gallery of Sudbury (ON); Canada Council Art Bank (ON); Canadian Museum of Civilization (QC); Glenbow Museum (AB); MacKenzie Art Gallery (SK); McMichael Canadian Art Collection (ON); National Gallery of Canada (ON); Royal Ontario Museum (ON); Thunder Bay Art Gallery (ON); Winnipeg Art Gallery (MB); and Woodland Cultural Centre (ON). His major commissions include: Earth Mother and Earth Mother with her Children, created for the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec (1967); Ancestral Figure with Spirit Helpers, purchased by Toronto City Hall (1970s); and a number of paintings for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario (1975).





Joseph Sanchez, Man and Banana, 1974 [cat. 114]


The Native Group of Seven a.k.a. Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. Joseph M. Sanchez


he raison d’être for the Native Group of Seven is that we were Indigenous artists who intended to change a stagnant and conformitybased art world with original artistic expressions. Unlike other contemporary artists at the time, the members of the Native Group of Seven acknowledged a human relationship to and responsibility for the diverse life on Earth. The national and worldwide influence of the group is obvious. Magiciens de la terre, an exhibition organized by the Musée national d’art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989, included group member Norval Morrisseau among its international selection of worldrenowned artists. Morrisseau, whose influence extends globally, remains one of Canada’s greatest artists, visually depicting Canada’s rich Indigenous history with the power to defy centuries of Eurocentric aesthetic expression. Magiciens de la terre was a testimony to the spirituality, strength, resilience, and raw talent of the work created by Norval Morrisseau. A gigantic persona, Morrisseau would leave an artistic trail wide enough for all of Canada to follow. Morning Star, Alex Janvier’s mural at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, continues to fill the eyes of Canada and the world with a view revealing the future of contemporary art, a view that is replete with hope, inspiration, and a real relationship to living Indigenous culture. Daphne Odjig, a key member of the group, also achieved worldwide renown, and the interest in her work by other artists, especially European ones, acknowledges a new

aesthetic emerging in art. For Native people, the beauty, colour, and form in the work by the Native Group of Seven evokes connections of history, place, and song, and unchallenged visions of Native resistance and self-reliance. The members of the Native Group of Seven were each unique in their style of creativity. I often think of the combined creativity, spirit, and innovation of my friends, many of whose lives ended much too early. Jackson Beardy who, together with Daphne Odjig, came up with the idea of forming our group, left us wanting more of his vibrant work. Carl Ray, who created unique and personal interpretations of embodied legends and a Native life, deserves credit with Norval Morrisseau for the creation of the so-called Woodland school. Eddy Cobiness, a generous and spiritual person, possessed an artistic talent that rivalled the best of realist painters of animals, humans, and landscapes. He shared a watercolour technique with me that is crucial to my understanding of painting and went on to develop a style of depicting our non-human relatives that influenced many young artists in the years that followed. Crucial to the development of the Native Group of Seven were the atmosphere and conversations that took place in 1972 with Daphne Odjig at her business, Odjig Indian Prints of Canada Ltd. and the now legendary Warehouse Gallery (the backroom) in Winnipeg. Odjig’s strong belief in supporting young Indigenous artists was fundamental to the formation of the Native Group of Seven. On every occasion


Carl Ray, Camping Over Ancestral Grave, 1976 [cat. 97]


Canadian Indian Art, Its Death and Rebirth (1974)* TOM HILL


o records document how and when the Indian artist began manipulating European materials to produce Fine Art in the tradition of “Art for art’s sake.” Aboriginal art, until the advent of the European, had always been functional and part of his cultural life. One of the earliest examples of Indian “Art for art’s sake” is the self-portrait of Zacharie Vincent, a Huron, painted about 1840. Antoine Plamondon, a noted artist of the time, chose Vincent as a subject for a portrait; Vincent in turn was so impressed by Plamondon’s work that he decided to try his own hand at self-portraiture. The resulting painting was so pleasing that he promptly produced several copies – all for his own gratification. According to J. Russell Harper in Painting in Canada:, “Plamondon is said to have given him advice, but throughout he remained a primitive, adding detail to detail with little regard for the final artistic effect. The Huron Indian went on to paint some highly coloured landscapes of Lorette now in the Quebec Museum, one of which is a free copy of a Krieghoff canvas.” Vincent’s painting was an unusual occurrence and an isolated example of one man’s attempt to adapt to another artistic culture. Whatever his reasons were for attempting the transition, his interest was short-lived and his accumulated knowledge as a painter appeared to influence no one. History shows numerous examples of how Indians have adapted their art forms to cater to the predominant tastes of the Western world. Where the adaptation involved simply technique or style, the transition was quite painless — as in the case of Zacharie Vincent or in the applied arts.

But where the artistic expression was steeped in tradition as it was in the ceremonial arts, the question of adaptation proved much more complex. The turn of the century marked the beginning of a confrontation between the need to deeply express the Indian point of view and the desire to safeguard traditional beliefs and expressions. There were several reasons why Canadian Indian art experienced a rapid decline during the early part of this century. One of the most prevalent was the general attitude of the Victorian Canadians toward the art produced by Canadian Indians. Art was collected as an anthropological remnant of the past rather than as a fine representation of a sophisticated culture. The Victorians wanted “curios” to decorate their ornate parlours rather than fine pieces of indigenous art and were little interested in the thought and mythology that was so often vividly expressed. Some the art, in fact, even reflected the paganism which the Victorians, along with the missionaries, adamantly opposed and worked ceaselessly to eradicate. What remained of the Indian cultural tradition after this thorough scouring was looked after by the Canadian government – always close at hand – with the official policy of “assimilation.” As part of the program, Section 114 of the Criminal Code of Canada forbade and punished certain “pagan rites.” On the West Coast, this assimilation policy took the form of Potlatch Laws which remained in effect until 1951. This law had a profound effect on the artistic expression of the Canadian Indian artist. In most cases, the artist’s creations were an integral


Daphne Odjig, Mother Earth Struggles for Survival, 1975 [cat. 82]


Reactive Intermediates: Aboriginal Art, Politics, and Resonance of the 1960s and 1970s BARRY ACE

The only way to maintain our culture is for us to remain as Indians. – Indian Association of Alberta, 19701


he Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporated (PNIAI) was a unique group of active and energized artists comprised of one woman and six men, who came together to create new opportunities for exhibition, mentorship, advocacy, funding, and critique. The newly formed collective coalesced on the cusp of an important new wave of Aboriginal social and political activism and brought together seven savvy and seasoned established and midcareer artists (Odjig, Janvier, Cobiness, Sanchez, Morrisseau, Ray, and Beardy). Together they were wryly dubbed the “Indian Group of Seven,” 2 a

label which aptly paralleled the sentiment of the times and underlined the need for change and new directions in contemporary Canadian art writ large. Although the history of the PNIAI is significant, there were peripheral artistic and political spheres of influence, and lesser known (but equally important) artists and visionaries driving change and pushing the boundaries of contemporary Aboriginal art. Several artists working pre-1960 created contemporary stylistic innovations, built new tribal synergies, and established new opportunities for exhibition. Also integral to this history is an understanding of the overt and often contradictory federal government policies and economic development strategies that continually disrupted, intervened in, and ultimately shaped this period of Aboriginal art

history in Canada. Operating independently of, in tandem or intertwined with, or influenced by PNIAI activities, these other artists, visionaries, political interventions, peripheral histories, and artistic spaces are the subject of this essay. Voice, authority, and interpretation were integral elements of the heightened political and cultural consciousness sweeping Indian country during the 1960s and 1970s. Mirroring developments in Aboriginal law and politics, these same ideas fuelled the emergence of a new Aboriginal contemporary art discourse directed at the cloistered and exclusionary exhibition and acquisition policies of contemporary Canadian fine art institutions, critical and curatorial communities, national museums, and many commercial fine art galleries. Just as First Nations struggled to enshrine “existing aboriginal and treaty rights” in the Canadian Constitution Act (1982) and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1985) and fought a lengthy court challenge to affirm that such rights were not an “empty box,” so contemporary Aboriginal artists struggled for decades in their quest for recognition, acceptance, and inclusion.3 Yet ironically, and for perhaps the very same reasons, a ghettoized reservation regime failed to colonize and assimilate Indians into mainstream Canadian society. The systemic marginalization of Aboriginal artists actually nurtured a fertile and distinct contemporary Aboriginal art history outside of Canadian art history.


Alex Janvier, Alberta Rose, 1977 [cat. 41]


Early Adventures in the Mainstream: Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau, and Daphne Odjig 1962–1975 Lee-Ann Martin

It has become a given that mainstream Canadian art and cultural institutions have historically supported and maintained a distinctly Euro-Canadian view of aesthetics and cultural production. – Steve Loft, 20121


f the seven founding members of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau, and Daphne Odjig had the most active and sustained engagement with the “distinctly Euro-Canadian view” in both commercial and public art galleries during the 1960s and early 1970s. While differing in stylistic approaches and formative training, all three artists had access to books on art, studying them throughout the postwar decade of the 1950s. Living in British Columbia during this time, Daphne Odjig visited art galleries to view paintings and survey exhibition catalogues.2 In public libraries, she examined the first newformat “coffee table” art books on Picasso and other European modernist painters.3 In 1958, Norval Morrisseau met Dr. Joseph Weinstein and his wife, Esther, in the northern mining community of Cochenour, Ontario. As art collectors, the Weinsteins had an extensive collection of books that Morrisseau explored.4 Alex Janvier’s first exposure to modernist art occurred while he was a student at Blue Quills Indian Residential School in St. Paul, Alberta, where the school principal, the Reverend Father Etienne Bernet-Rollande, provided encouragement and access to art books. Beginning in 1950, Janvier took instruction outside the school with painter and university extension

art professor Karl Altenberg, who introduced the young artist to the fine arts section of the University of Alberta library where Janvier developed a strong affinity to such modernist artists as Wassily Kandinsky.5 Norval Morrisseau Norval Morrisseau’s first exhibition at the Pollock Gallery in Toronto in 1962 has become a legendary chapter in Canada’s art history. In the summer of 1960, Jack Pollock was hired to conduct a series of seminars on contemporary painting techniques in various towns on the northwest shores of Lake Superior. In each area he visited people told him of an “Indian artist who painted pictures on birch bark.” Eventually, in Beardmore, he met Morrisseau and, after seeing his paintings, realized immediately that this was a great Canadian talent.6 Morrisseau then agreed to show his work in a solo exhibition at the prestigious Pollock Gallery in September 1962. Within twenty-four hours, every painting was sold, with Morrisseau receiving critical acclaim and publicity. A Time article later that month described Morrisseau as a “Primitivist” and quoted Pollock: “By the accident of isolation, he is a painter untouched and uninhibited. The richness of the legends and his talent elevate his art beyond that of mere decoration.” 7


Jackson Beardy, Myth Image, 1972 [cat. 3]


“Winnipeg, Where It All Began” – Rhetorical and Visual Sovereignty and the Formation of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. Cathy Mattes


n March 2011, Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez conducted art workshops with youth and local artists Louis Ogemah (Anishinaabe), Lita Fontaine (Dakota/Anishinaabe/ Métis), Darryl Nepinak (Saulteaux), and Jackie Traverse (Anishinaabe) at the Ndinawe Youth Centre in downtown Winnipeg.1 For several days, youth and practicing artists painted together on large sheets of paper, encouraging one another in times of doubt, joking and laughing, and quietly working side by side. The end results were paintings that reflected personal visual narratives, cultural concepts, community cohesiveness, and various levels of experience. After the workshops were over, Alex Janvier told me that he considered the process of collaborative painting to be “Tribal Painting.” This process involves standing together and contributing to community by navigating personal space and priorities, differing opinions, roles, and responsibilities, and encouraging creative process and critical thinking. Janvier asserted that the “Tribal Painting” that took place during the workshops at the Ndinawe Youth Centre followed the ways in which First Nations historically worked together for the sake of the collective. “Tribal Painting” is also a metaphor for the “visual” and “rhetorical” sovereignty that developed during the existence of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. (PNIAI). Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora) suggests that as part of an ongoing strategy for survival, the work of Indigenous artists needs to be

understood through “the clarifying lens of sovereignty and self-determination.” 2 Through the concept of sovereignty, artists represent their histories, cultures, and identities and make social change. The artists who shaped this formative organization contributed to Indigenous sovereignty because their art and actions became vehicles for cultural empowerment. They became instigators of social change as they navigated multiple fields: their own communities, a range of political jurisdictions and networks, artistic worlds, and the heart of downtown Winnipeg. As members of PNIAI traversed these fields to seek inspiration, support, and solidarity, they “painted tribally,” and their actions and efforts have resonated with contemporary artists of Aboriginal ancestry and their supporters ever since. When discussing visual and rhetorical sovereignty and the formation of the PNIAI, a distinction exists between solidarity amongst individuals and individuals who provide support to one another. Support is positive, but can be taken away as easily as it can be given. Solidarity, however, takes commitment and courage. It is not a smooth process where the parties involved are in total agreement, but rather one where each party shows a willingness to take chances, be confronted, and commit to forward movement. Sovereignty may develop from the giving and receiving of support and a search for solidarity, but it is more complicated and involves more than these two concepts. The impact of Indigenous


Norval Morrisseau, Self-Portrait, 1975 [cat. 62]


Paper Trail: PNIAI Artists in Winnipeg Newspapers, 1966–1977 Carmen Robertson

…The social and economic situation hasn’t improved that much, but the entire awareness of what is possible has vastly increased. I think a lot of people are beginning to get an inkling of what place they should occupy in Canadian society. – Harold Cardinal 1


he early 1970s were heady times for Indigenous peoples in Canada. In 1969, when then Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chrétien released the White Paper that would have spelled the end of the Indian Act and fulfilled Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s assimilationist vision of Canada, an organized Native voice swiftly responded.2 These events led to a strong National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) that for the first time represented Indigenous peoples on the national stage. Additionally, two groups advocating Aboriginal women’s rights emerged. Indian Rights for Indian Women (IRIW) in 1970 and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) in 1974 added women’s political interests to the equation. Strong leaders stepped forward in all arenas. In the arts, then Winnipeg-based artist Daphne Odjig inspired and mentored artists as she laid the groundwork for the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporated (PNIAI). In the 1970s the newspaper remained a key source of information. The mainstream press, typically a disciplining force and a source of popular education for readers, responded to the political and social changes afoot in the early 1970s by vacillating between pitching Aboriginal people as violent and finding opportunities to praise and promote behaviours it deemed appropriate to assimilation.3 Press coverage

continued to champion assimilation even while Trudeau steered away from it as official policy. A 1970 editorial in the Regina Leader-Post, for example, posited, “The once apathetic and isolated Indian is now being asked to share in the formation of policies pertaining to his affairs.” And despite the success of the NIB in creating a unified voice, the media cast the White Paper outcome not as a victory for the assertion of political solidarity for Indigenous peoples, but as a direct threat to the country auguring future problems. Language such as “militant” and “warpath” coupled with the organization of a national Aboriginal voice spelled trouble in the press.4 A front-page story in the Winnipeg Free Press in 1971 with the headline “Indians, Whites At Odds,” hyperbolically warned that “an Indian war could develop if Indians don’t stop hunting deer at night on their land.” 5 Tempering stories of impending violence, the press sought reports that demonstrated how assimilation could erase cultural difference and achieve Canada’s commitment to a unified nation. Indigenous arts coverage in the press most often served this aim. Mining the pages of the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Tribune in the 1960s and early 1970s uncovers a relatively small number of stories about contemporary Indigenous arts. Most numerous were reports related to the emerging Inuit art market. Reports of funding


Eddy Cobiness, Camp Fire, 1973 [cat. 15]


The New Group of Seven: A Reaction to the State of Indian Art in Canada in the Sixties and Seventies Viviane Gray

Art, to me, cuts down barriers between have and have not. Makes into the hearts of people you’ve never met before. Speaks in a tongue you cannot understand, and makes the handiwork of the Spirit close at hand. – Alex Janvier, 1976 1


ur visual culture is still part of our lives in the twenty-first century due largely to the courage and vision of our artists. Despite overwhelming obstacles, they continued to create works of art that reflected both their cultural traditions and new world views. Their message, as artists, carried the same message as their ancestors: Canada’s First Nations have always wanted to coexist with other Canadians, but on their own terms–not as conquered peoples, but as equals. The First Nations in Canada have a long tradition of creating art. Our heritage objects in museums and private collections throughout the world are evidence of our rich artistic past. However, in the twentieth century, First Nations artists struggled to be recognized as artists by Canada’s art institutions and public galleries. Why did it take so long for Aboriginal art to be recognized by Canadian art institutions? Unfortunately, our contemporary art history reflects a reality of intolerance, misunderstandings, and misgivings. It is a history affected by Canadian politics and social mores. The Indian Act was one of the reasons that First Nations art was hidden from the view of Canadians until the mid-twentieth century. Northwest Coast art was not recognized until the 1960s because the Potlatch Law, an 1884 Indian Act amendment restricting key Northwest Coast

ceremonies, was not repealed until 1951, and this law affected the creation, use, and distribution of traditional art forms.2 Restrictions on the potlatch were extended to a wide range of ceremonies and cultural practices in other regions and even the wearing of traditional dress at unsanctioned events. Under the Indian Act, First Nations were not considered “Canadian” until 1960 when the act was amended to include enfranchisement, or the right to vote. As social scientist Wayne Warry succinctly states: “Until then, it was impossible to be an Indian and a full member of society.” 3 Despite government policies that isolated First Nations from mainstream Canadians, First Nations people enriched their lives through their art, writing, music, theatre, and dance. According to Gitxsan artist Doreen Jensen, “in the 1950s and 1960s, Indian artists took the contemporary practice of traditional Northwest Coast art out of hiding and began a dialogue with non-Native culture.” 4 For First Nations, the determination to survive within their various cultures required the age-old tradition of communicating with others. This aspect of Native self-determination is what makes First Nations art history so interesting. Artists are not just technicians. They are teachers, tribal leaders, spiritual visionaries, and warriors. It is not surprising that a First Nations artist is also a curator, educator, project manager, politician, writer, actor, cultural diplomat, and


CONTRIBUTOR BIOS Barry Ace (Anishinaabe [Odawa], M’Chigeeng First Nation) is a visual artist living in Ottawa. His work has appeared in numerous group and solo exhibitions at venues including the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Ottawa); the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon); the Leonard and Ellen Bina Art Gallery (Montreal); the American Indian Community House Gallery (New York); and the Nordamerika Native Museum (Zurich). Most recently, his work was included in the major international touring exhibition Changing Hands 3 – Art Without Reservations, Museum of Art and Design, New York (2012). His work can also be found in numerous public and private collections. Ace has also written extensively on contemporary Canadian Aboriginal art and is the 2012 recipient of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Curatorial Writing Award for his essay “A Reparative Act” for Robert Houle’s exhibition Paris/Ojibwa. Viviane Gray (Mi’gmaq, Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation) is a visual artist, curator, and writer with more than forty years’ experience in Aboriginal arts and culture. In 1989, she was appointed Manager of the Indian Art Centre, Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, a position she held until 1997. She then served as Chief of the Indian and Inuit Art Centre and Director of the Aboriginal Art Centre until her retirement in 2010. She also worked on assignment as Interim Aboriginal Coordinator for the Canada Council for the Arts from 1999 to 2001. In 2012, Viviane received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her lifetime contributions to Aboriginal art. Tom Hill (Konadaha Seneca, Six Nations) has played a crucial role in the advancement of Aboriginal arts and culture in Canada and internationally since the 1960s. An influential curator, art historian, artist, and writer, he has contributed to numerous groundbreaking exhibitions of Aboriginal art, including the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67, Montreal, and Indian Art ’74, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. In 1977, he became Director of the Cultural Affairs Section of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, where he oversaw the organization of exhibitions and support programs for artists of Aboriginal heritage. Later, in 1982, he was appointed Director of the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario where, for over 20 years, he produced a number of art and historical exhibitions. He has served on numerous Boards and committees including the National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Film Development Corporation, National Task Force on Museums and First Peoples, Ontario Arts Council, and Centre for Indigenous Theatre. He is the recipient of countless awards and honours, including the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2004) and an honorary doctorate from Wilfred Laurier University. In 2006, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective recognized Tom Hill as Canada’s first Aboriginal curator. Michelle LaVallee (Ojibway, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Neyaashiinigmiing / Cape Croker) is a curator, artist, and educator. Since 2007, her curatorial work at the MacKenzie Art Gallery has explored the colonial relations that have shaped historical and contemporary culture through exhibitions including: 13 Coyotes: Edward Poitras (2012); To Be Reckoned With… (2010); Blow Your House In: Vernon Ah Kee (2009); Captured: Portraiture and the Permanent Collection; and Miss Chief: Shadow Catcher – Kent Monkman (2008). She is a recent participant in the Canadian

Aboriginal Curators delegations sent to the 2011 Venice Biennale and the 2010 and 2008 Biennale of Sydney, and a recipient of the 2006 Canada Council for the Arts Assistance to Aboriginal Curators Grant for Residencies in the Visual Arts. Lee-Ann Martin (Mohawk, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) is Curator of Contemporary Canadian Aboriginal Art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. She has held positions as First Peoples Equity Coordinator at the Canada Council for the Arts and as Head Curator of the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Between 2001 and 2004, she was Curatorial Fellow with the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff, Alberta. She has curated and co-curated numerous nationally and internationally touring exhibitions, including: INDIGENA: Perspectives of Indigenous Peoples on 500 Years, Canadian Museum of Civilization (1992); Alex Janvier: His First Thirty Years (1960 – 1990), Thunder Bay Art Gallery (1993); Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work, MacKenzie Art Gallery in association with the Canadian Museum of Civilization (2008); and Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in association with the Canadian Museum of Civilization (2011). Catherine Mattes (Michif, Southwest Manitoba) is Assistant Professor in Visual and Aboriginal Art at Brandon University. She completed a curatorial residency with the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1998 and was an active board member of Urban Shaman Contemporary Art Gallery and Artist-Run Centre for four years. Between 2003 and 2005, she served as Curator of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. She has curated numerous exhibitions including: Transcendence – KC Adams, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (2006); Rockstars & Wannabes, Urban Shaman Gallery, Winnipeg (2007); Blanche: KC Adams & Jonathan Jones, Chalkhorse Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2008); and Frontrunners, Urban Shaman Gallery and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2011). She is currently pursuing her PhD studies at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. Carmen Robertson (Lakota/Scottish) is Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Regina, with a specific focus on Aboriginal visual culture. She received her PhD in Educational Research from the University of Calgary in 2005 and maintains an active curatorial practice. Dr. Robertson recently received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and is working on a monograph of Norval Morrisseau. She is co-author of Clearing a Path: Traditional Indigenous Arts of Saskatchewan (Canadian Plains Research Center, 2009) and Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers (University of Manitoba Press, 2011). Joseph Sanchez (Spanish/German/Pueblo) is an artist and curator currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a founding member of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., as well as Movimiento Artistico del Rio Salado (MARS) and Ariztlan. In 2002, he was appointed Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, a position that he held until his retirement in 2010. He is the recipient of the 2006 Allan Houser Memorial Award for outstanding artistic achievement and community service, and was a curatorial partner for the 7th International Biennial at Site Santa Fe in 2008.