This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Since the only road linking Red Lake to the rest of the


province didn’t open until the 1940s, the discovery of gold created an aviation boom. “Flying boats” were chartered to transport supplies and people. Te mining explosion of 1934, driven by an increase in the price of gold, led to a dra- matic rise in the local aviation industry. In fact, Howey Bay was the busiest airport in the world in 1936, with flights arriving or departing every 15 minutes.


Today, Red Lake remains among the world’s richest gold mines. Mined by Goldcorp Canada Limited, one of the world’s leading gold producers, Red Lake has already had 26 mine sites developed and more areas continued to be explored. Goldcorp continues to be the main thrust behind the local economy. Red Lake is one of the company’s top producers yielding 414,400 ounces in 2014 and has many years of sustainable mining ahead.


Goldcorp Red Lake gold mines.


Copper Thunderbird ᐅᓵᐚᐱᐦᑯᐱᓀᐦᓯ


Born: Mar. 14, 1931 Died: Dec. 4, 2007


Norval Morisseau, lovingly referred to as the Father of Aboriginal Art, spent much of his life in Red Lake. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, as was customary for the eldest boy, on the Sandy Point Reserve in Ontario. His grandfather, Moses Nanakonagos (Potan) was what was referred to as a shaking tent seer. Norval grew up immersed in the ways of the Anishnabe, hearing the stories, and learning the responsibilities and spiritual concepts from his grandfather.


At the age of six he was removed from his grandparent’s home and placed in a Catholic residential school in Fort


68 • Fall 2015


William where he spent the next two years of his life. Upon leaving the school, Norval, well-educated in Ojibwa culture, began creating his own drawings. It wasn’t until he was 19, however, that he began his immersion in art in earnest. Diagnosed with tuberculosis and hospi- talized, his doctor encouraged him to paint. During this time he experienced a series of visions which told him that he was to become a shaman-artist who would make the Ojibwa culture relevant to others. Criticized by his own people, Norval defended his work and became the first to paint Aboriginal cultural heri- tage. A self-taught artist, he was able to restore First Nation cultural pride and spiritual awareness through his work.


After being named “Miskwaabik Animiiki”, or Copper Thunderbird in a traditional naming ceremony he began signing his spirit name in syllabics


on all of his paintings. His artwork is known worldwide for its striking style which uses strong back lines and bright colours. Norval is the originator of this artistic style and his portrayal of Aborig- inal culture has no prior precedence. It is said that the genius of his paintings speaks to us of the past and cautions us about the future. His art combines historical facts and the legends of his people. Political tensions of the time as well as his own existential struggles with spirituality are also conveyed through his work. Early pieces were described as X-rays depicting the spiritual power of all living beings.


Largely ignored, as most Aboriginal artists were, he did not gain atten- tion until his works were displayed in a Toronto show in the 1960s. Each of his paintings sold on the first day. He was commissioned for a large mural


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