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[teacherartexchange] Norval Morrisseau - Ojibwe Native American Art to admire


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 06:50:04 PST

Greetings Art Educators,

This is a follow-up to the posts Kevan (and others) made yesterday on
respecting cultural beliefs, values.... and objects about religion. If
you missed those posts, I did save them (all but one from Anne that
didn't come to my Gmail account).
Anne's comment was to include objects from other cultures in still
life and learn about the cultures that way (much like Matisse and
other artists of his time). One scholar of African Art (in a video I
used) actually criticized this practice - so there are differing
opinions. I think each one of us has to come to our own way of
teaching cultures. You know the lessons that your students need. If we
stop teaching about Kachinas (Kastinas) who will buy the Kachinas
(Kastinas) that are made to sell? I have found that the ones who
complain the loudest about our lessons are often not the actual
cultures that made the objects we are teaching out students about.
Here are some contemporary Kachinas that are quite beautiful: - by Ambrose Teasyatwho
(I do not know this artist's cultural group - I just found this
looking up the correct spelling of Kastinas - which I believe is now

The Native American Kevan wrote about was from the Ojibwe (also Ojebwa) group.
There is even mixed feelings within their own culture. Many did not
like that Norval Morrisseau was telling their stories in his
paintings. Here is one form of Native American/ Ojibwa Art you CAN
teach about. There are other Ojibwa painters (and printmakers) now

Here is a lesson plan you can adapt for Morrisseau:
This is good for all grade levels. I think Sue Stevens used him for high school?

some links:

There is much more out there.....

This attitude that non-Natives should not teach about Native cultures
really bothers me..... If all art teachers believed this way... then
we could not teach about African Art.... Chinese art.... Japanese
Art..... etc. I am White English-German-Swiss-French-American.... Does
that mean, I can only teach about those cultures to which I belong? I
would leave out growing groups of my student body. I believe that art
education needs to take a global view. Art can bring this world closer
together - it is the one subject that can.

Maybe we can reach a happy medium? See if there are Native Peoples in
your community to come in and present some of the cultural background.

Two Ojibwa crafts that you can teach about are the dream catchers (as
that has also been adopted by other Native Cultures).... and you can
also teach about the Ojibwa Bag Loom (I can not find any how tos on
line.... you will have to look it up in books).

Here is the list of Do's and Don'ts for teaching Native Cultures:


Judy Decker
Incredible Art Department
Incredible Art Resources

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