A 2010 Statement by Ritchie Sinclair

A 2010 Statement by Ritchie Sinclair
Regarding the Morrisseau.com Website

In the final years of his life Morrisseau fought desperately against the proliferation of thousands of inferior counterfeit paintings, identifying fake and forged works available for sale. Between 1993 and his death in 2007, Morrisseau sent multiple sworn declarations to dealers and galleries demanding fake and forged works misattributed to him be removed from sale or destroyed.

The Morrisseau.com website brings the important issue of Morrisseau forgery proliferation into the public spotlight.

Norval Morrisseau's authentic art

Morrisseau's artistic body of work provides us with a Shamanistic slideshow depicting an incredible journey into harmony. If the counterfeit paintings Morrisseau disavowed were true forgeries, rather than vastly inferior fakes, then at least his Spirit and message may have survived. There are now so many inferior counterfeits on the market, Morrisseau's legacy will be lost if we do not separate the wheat from the chaff.

Those speaking out about this issue have been sued and intimidated into silence. Those continuing to speak out, in spite of being sued, have been subjected to malicious smear campaigns. I have personally endured 16 months of defamation by those bent on using Norval Morrisseau's stolen identity to commit fraud.

Morrisseau protege sued for $17 Million  

On November 21st 2008 I was sued by nine Plaintiffs for defamation. On 4 December 2008 I was compelled to appear for an injunction hearing. This hearing took place one year to the day of Norval Morrisseau's death. On 8 December 2008, one year to the day I held the Norval Morrisseau Memorial Gathering at Toronto's Native Canadian Centre, the Superior Court ruled in my favour.

I filed a second Affidavit in my defense on 5 January 2009 and a Supplementary Affidavit on January 8 2009. These included multiple notarized declarations sworn by Norval Morrisseau directed at the plaintiffs and their sources. The plaintiffs requested an indefinite adjournment and I consented. It has now been 14 months since the plaintiffs sued me for $17 Million, and I haven't seen them since.

If you can't beat them....beat them more

After the plaintiffs failed to silence me in the higher courts, their associate Joseph "Joe" Otavnik took over harassing me. On 8 January 2009 Otavnik served me with a $10,000 "slander of title" lawsuit, naming the Kinsman Robinson Gallery and me as co-defendants. By April 2009 the Kinsman Robinson Gallery acceded to Otavnik's demands, quietly settling with him by eliminating any information about me on the gallery's website.

In the spring 2009 Otavnik sued my roommate, my lawyer and my lawyer's wife to further harass me. On 10 June 2009 I sued Otavnik for vexatious litigation, defamation and harassment. Otavnik's claim came to trial on 18 March 2010, with the decision of the court reserved in anticipation of the outcome of my counterclaim trial to be heard on 11 May 2010. This trial was subsequently adjourned to November 16 2010 and continues on January 11, 2011 (1/11/11) in Toronto.

In the autumn of 2009 Otavnik sued Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society member Richard Baker for assisting me in my defence. Despite earlier settling with the Kinsman Robinson Gallery, Otavnik has once again sued the gallery for providing me with an Expert Report discrediting his purported Morrisseau painting.

On 9 April 2010 Otavnik was arrested and charged by the Toronto Police Service with criminal harassment and assault against me. Otavnik was released from custody under the following conditions:
  • not to be within 50 meters of Sinclair's residence.
  • not to directly or indirectly post anything on the Internet concerning Sinclair or "Stardreamer".
  • no contact directly or indirectly with Sinclair or from going to within 50 meters of any place that Otavnik knows Sinclair to be.

The other individuals and organizations Otavnik has threatened with lawsuits are too numerous to mention here. It is important to note, however, that on 22 October 2009 Otavnik was convicted on two counts of criminal harassment in an unrelated case.


This was not my vision for the Morrisseau.com website. I envisioned an inspirational and interactive community. This website is dedicated to the memory of my friend, mentor, brother, comrade, chum, hero, misfit and maestro. Norval left us a symbolic trail of art. Footprints that lead out of mundane illusion and into magical authenticity. The sacred scrolls of the Grand Shaman are invaluable. To let this hubris and deceit bury Norval Morrisseau's life's work is unacceptable. The Morrisseau.com website is ours to use to assist Norval. Let's use it to get the word out and bring this crime to an end.

Ritchie "Stardreamer" Sinclair
Protege of Norval Morrisseau

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Many thanks for this, Ritchie. The whole sad story needs to be on public record for future generations to know; and to inspire them in the guardianship of sacred messages and their messengers.


RIP Norval.