Item AAAB4368 - Father Alex Morris (O.M.I.) interview

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Father Alex Morris (O.M.I.) interview

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  • sound recording

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1980-07-30 [date recorded] (Creation)

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Interviews recorded as research for Sound Heritage Series no. 34, "Now You Are My Brother: Missionaries in British Columbia".

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CALL NUMBER: T3869:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Missionaries in B.C. : Father Alex Morris RECORDED: [location unknown], 1980-07-30 SUMMARY: Father Alex Morris discusses: his early life -- born in Quebec in 1911 to a fisherman/stationary engineer; decision to go into the priesthood; always had this desire to go to sea, never realized this ;dream; wanted to be a missionary in Africa, but settled for a job working with the Natives in B.C.; came to Williams Lake, somewhat unhappily; going on a railroad trip through B.C. slightly changed hi;s negative opinion of the province; in 1942, he began to go out on missions with Father Thomas from Williams Lake. Father Alex Morris on Father Thomas: first impressions; his warped use of the Durieu ;system, and Morris' rejection of it. Morris accompanied Father Thomas mainly to the Shuswap reserves. Problems he saw with Father Thomas' ways (Natives went right back to alcohol after Father Thomas l;eft.) Discussion of native culture, the Durieu system. More on Father Alex Morris' experiences: on the missions until 1946; then he was asked to replace the principal of a Native school at Williams La;ke; at this time, he was very dissatisfied with his job touring the reserves -- very close to quitting; complaints he heard from Native parents, before he took over at the school; school finances; und;erstanding the ranch at the school; changes he made at the school -- ended the use of Native boys working at the ranch, ended half-days of school, implemented a more academic school program; parents j;ust wanted children to learn enough English to read, write and be confirmed.; CALL NUMBER: T3869:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Missionaries in B.C. : Father Alex Morris RECORDED: [location unknown], 1980-07-30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Father Alex Morris: trappers; parents drinking, but still want children to know Catholic religion; he stopped practice of staff speaking French in front of Native children; he had good relat;ions with the sisters; introduced music to the school; implementation of the public school program to the residential school; once he was in charge, the number of runaways dropped substantially; tried; to bring in Native music; began to let girls and boys mix socially; building a swimming pool even though the government disapproved; started a program for priests in the teaching field to get their b;achelors of education if they did not have it; sent Native children to Kamloops for high school -- high percentage passed all exams; discussion of the Chilcotin people; starting a girls' pipe band. T;RACK 2: Father Alex Morris: more on the girls' pipe band and a misunderstanding over it; discussion of native culture -- criticisms he has heard of his methods; no regrets about his teaching style; mo;re on native culture, particularly the Shuswap culture; Durieu system -- opposition to it, misunderstanding of native culture; native impressions of the Durieu system; relations between Natives and wh;ites; Father Thomas' use of the Durieu system; Father Thomas' relationship with the Natives. More on the Durieu system and its use in B.C.;

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Margaret Whitehead, 1979-1981


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  • Partial transcript on file.
  • Reference cassette copy available in container 000443-239.

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No access restrictions apply.

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  • Copying Restriction: None.
  • Use Restriction: For private and educational use only. Not for broadcast or commercial use without permission of the B.C. Archives.
  • Copyright Status: Copyright British Columbia Archives.

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General note

Excerpts from this interview appeared in Sound Heritage Series no. 34, "Now You Are My Brother".

General note

Accession number(s): T3869

Credits note

speaker: Father Alex Morris, O.M.I., interviewer: Margaret Mary Whitehead

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