The Shaman’s Dream (1995) Norval Morrisseau

The Shaman’s Dream
Norval Morrisseau
1995, 96″ x 96″, Acrylic on canvas
Frontispiece – Travels to the House of Invention – Norval Morrisseau (1997)

In some parts of Ontario there are Ojibway Indians who claim to belong to the Society of Heaven People. Some call it the Wahbeenowin Society – the Vision Society.

The Ojibway belief states that in heaven there are what the Indians of this society call Heaven People, Okeezhikokah Eninnewuk. These are guardians of heaven, not angels, but people who are Indians with fairer skin and, as I have said, dressed in scarlet tunics with a hood.

The members of this society dress in the same manner as the Heaven People at their rites and ceremonies and great feasts, and hold dances in their honour. Each member believes he is going to heaven and has a number printed or punched with a nail on a half-moon badge made out of tin or other metal. This badge is worn on the hood, and it is believed that when a member dies the real Heaven People will ask the supernatural body what number it has, and upon submitting that number it will be admitted to heaven.”

Norval Morrisseau
1965