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Governor general busy in Ontario community. (Careers).

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband John Ralston Saul had a busy itinerary when they visited northwestern Ontario in mid-September and several stops on the agenda touched the First Nations people of the area.

In Thunder Bay, Clarkson presented the prestigious Order of Canada to artist Susan Ross, who is well know for her paintings, etchings, and prints of First Nations people. In the 1960s, she was encouraged by Norval Morrisseau to paint the residents and scenes of this part of the world. He suggested she sketch scenes form daily life at Gull Bay. She also ventured to the far north and showed the rest of the country images of the Inuit people.

In her travels, Ross visited and documented images from Big Trout Lake Sandy Lake, Pond Inlet-north of the Arctic Circle, and more. The 1960s and 1970 were a difficult time for Aboriginal people of northwestern Ontario and the far north. Ross's images often show stress in the faces of those she sketched and the hard work they endured in their daily lives. Her paintings also document the inner joy her subjects fought to maintain.

In her comments while issuing the Order of Canada, Clarkson said Ross has served as a mentor, a source of encouragement, and a source of financial assistance to numerous artists. As well as Morrisseau, Ross was also influential in the careers of Carl Ray and Daphne Odjig, whose first public exhibition was mounted by Ross in 1967.

Many pieces of Ross's work grace the halls at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. John Ralston Saul took time to tour Negahneewin College of Indigenous Studies, which is an Aboriginal college housed within the main Confederation College campus.

Clarkson visited the Fort William First Nations and discussed the plans of the band. She got to see the considerable recent construction on the reserve, including a new arena, medical building, and office space for Dilico Child and Family Services.
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Title Annotation:Susan Ross receives Order of Canada.
Author:Davis, Jolene
Publication:Wind Speaker
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Previous Article:National Aboriginal Health Organization hosts western health forum. (Health).
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