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MORRIS, Christiana

Stewiacke, Nova Scotia?, 1804
Newport Station, Nova Scotia?, 1886
Notice biographique
A master of a number of traditional Mi'kmaq crafts, Christiana (Christianne, Christina, Christy Ann, née Mali Paul Mollise) Morris was perhaps most celebrated for her elaborate quillwork. She was married very young to Tom Mollise, a Mi'kmaq man much older than she who died shortly thereafter. Having no children, she adopted a homeless boy and an orphaned niece and succeeded in singlehandedly supporting them all. After presenting Queen Victoria with a pair of moccasins, she was granted a piece of land upon which she built a house and began raising livestock and a profitable vegetable garden. She was well-known and respected in nineteenth-century Halifax, counting two mayors of the town as her personal friends, and Joseph Howe, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and later Premier of Nova Scotia, as an acquaintance. A winner of a number of prizes for her worked paddles, clothing, quilled boxes and baskets, and even a full-size birch bark canoe, she appears in several Nova Scotian exhibition catalogues (Provincial Exhibitions of 1845, 1854, and 1868). In addition to producing her own pieces, she also posed for several full-size portraits in her elaborately-decorated clothing, one item of which was presented to the Prince of Wales upon his visit to Halifax in 1860. Sadly, there is only one extant example of her work: the panels for a cradle she made for the son of her friend, Reuben Rhuland in 1868, which were replicas of those she gave to the infant Prince of Wales.
Porcupine Quill Decoration
Lieux de conservation des dossiers et archives
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Documents sur l'artiste
Berlo, Janet C. and Ruth B. Phillips. Native North American Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
English, John, ed. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online Ottawa: Libraries and Archives Canada, 2008
Whitehead, Ruth Holmes. Micmac Quillwork: Micmac Indian Techniques of Porcupine Quill Decoration, 1600-1950. Halifax: Nova Scotia Museum, 1982.
Whitehead, Ruth Holmes. "Christina Morris: Micmac Artist and Artist's Model." Material History Bulletin 3 (Spring 1977): 1-14.

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