Norval Morriseau was born in 1931, on the Sandy Point Reserve, Ontario. His First Nations Affiliation is Ojibwa.
A self-taught painter, printmaker, and illustrator, Morrisseau created an innovative vocabulary which was initially criticized in the Native community for its disclosure of traditional spiritual knowledge. His colourful, figurative images, delineated with heavy black formlines and x-ray articulations, were characteristically signed with the syllabic spelling of Copper Thunderbird, the name Morrisseau's grandfather gave him.
Morrisseau has completed many commissions during his career, including the mural for the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo '67. He was presented with the Order of Canada in 1978, and in 1980 honourary doctorates from McGill and McMaster Universities. In 1995, Morrisseau was honoured by the Assembly of First Nations
A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 1970, Norval Morrisseau is the celebrated founder of the Woodland School, which revitalized Anishnabe iconography, traditionally incised on rocks and Midewiwin birchbark scrolls.