Morris, Miggs Wynne 1938-
MORRIS, Miggs Wynne 1938-
Born January 31, 1938, in Carnarfon, Wales; immigrated to Canada, 1963; naturalized Canadian citizen, 1972; daughter of Emrys J. W. (a banker) and Maira Wynne (a nurse and homemaker; maiden name, Lloyd Jones) Morris; companion of Alison Ogilvie (an educator). Ethnicity: "Welsh." Education: University of Wales, B.Sc. (with honors), 1958, teaching diplomas, 1959; University of Saskatchewan, M.A., 1972. Politics: "Middle of the road." Religion: "Not affiliated with any formal religious group." Hobbies and other interests: Her pets (five cats and a dog), reading, gardening, golfing, canoeing, hiking, travel.
Home and office—24072 Valleyview Rd., R.R.1, Thorndale, Ontario, Canada N0M 2P0. E-mail—[email protected].
Elementary and middle school teacher of physical education, English, and drama in North Wales, 1959-60; teacher of geography, English, and science at a secondary school in Llandudno, North Wales, Wales, 1960-63; geography teacher and department head at a middle school in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, 1963-65; teacher of Indian children at an elementary school in Fort Franklin (now Deline), Northwest Territories, Canada, 1965-68; language arts consultant to several Inuit communities in Keewatin District, Northwest Territories, Canada, 1970-72; teacher at elementary schools in London, Ontario, Canada, 1973-78, teacher and vice principal, 1978-88; principal of a residential school for children with severe behavioral and learning difficulties, 1988-96; retired, 1996. Photographer, with work exhibited at Museum of Archaeology, London, Ontario, Canada, 2002; public speaker.
Writers Union of Canada, Council for Exceptional Children (past president of local chapter), Ontario Principals' Association (past president).
Scholarship, Institute for Northern Studies, University of Saskatchewan, 1969; named Ontario teacher of the year, 1979.
Return to the Drum: Teaching among the Dene in Canada's North, NeWest Press (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 2000.
Contributor to books, including Canada's Changing North, edited by William C. Wonders, McClelland & Stewart, 1971. Contributor to periodicals, including Musk Ox and North. Editor of newsletters.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Research for a fictional book with a northern historical theme.
Miggs Wynne Morris told CA: "It all began when I started sorting my northern slides one September evening in 1994. As I looked again at the children I had taught in a tiny, remote, Dene Indian community in Canada's far north back in the mid-1960s, memories of my life with them and their families sprang clearly to mind. I could even 'hear' snippets of conversations spoken in their Dene accents from across the years, so I was compelled to sit down at my computer and begin writing about my experiences of living and teaching in the north as well as about those wonderful proud and capable people whose lives I had shared. Thus began Return to the Drum: Teaching among the Dene in Canada's North, and part one, those early years, came quickly. I also soon realized that I had to return to Fort Franklin (now called Deline), although there had been little contact with the community since 1969. The desire to meet my former students and their families could no longer be denied, so plans were made for my return visit in July, 1995.
"The community had of course changed considerably, but the people had changed little, and they greeted me so warmly—almost like I was a prodigal daughter. I participated in all kinds of enjoyable summer activities, but the people also shared their struggles over the years, as well as their more recent successes, and I knew I had to keep writing—with their support and encouragement—what became part two of the book.
"After the book was published in the fall of 2000, I returned again to Deline and to Yellowknife, where several of my former students now live, so that I could share the printed book with them. Most villagers knew that I was writing the book, and several had provided me with information. Furthermore, all those mentioned by name had received copies of the rough drafts pertaining to them and were asked to make any changes or deletions on the copies and return them to me. I also asked them if I could use their own names or would they prefer a pseudonym. There was a great deal of excitement when I returned with many copies of the book, and the people even put on a drum-dance of appreciation! My most precious moment came when former Chief Beyonnie (my chief in the 1960s) hugged me when I presented him with his own copy and said, 'This is a book about my people. It will stay at my bedside till the day I die.'
"I am currently researching background material for a fictional northern story. This past year I have been invited to give many talks (with slides) about the book, and I am delighted at having this opportunity to share the story of these people's struggles and their successes with an even wider audience. It's always frosting on the cake to be able to sell a few more copies of Return to the Drum, because a portion of the income returns to the community in the form of a scholarship fund to assist a few high school students as they continue their education.
"Writing Return to the Drum was an extremely enriching experience partly because it enabled me to reconnect with the warm-hearted people I had come to care for so much. But it also enabled me to achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a writer. I had started off in that direction many, many years ago, but as I pursued my career as an educator, writing other than writing connected to my work took a back seat. Once I began Return to the Drum, I had to retire from teaching and continue on this new track. My words of advice to aspiring writers? Never give up on your dream."