November 5, 2011

Some History | Some Stylin' Indians | Christianne Morris (Micmac)

Christianne Morris (Micmac) was known for her exquisite work in the traditional arts, supporting her family by the sale of quillwork and basketry.

Her needlework, quillwork, splint basketry, and even a full-sized canoe and paddles all won first prizes at various provincial exhibitions. She once sold two beaded costumes to Indian Commissioner William Chearnley for the impressive sum of $300.

From the portraits and works of art that survive her, we can see that she was a beautiful and gifted Native woman.

In the image below, she wears an ensemble of garments and accessories that she made her self. The outfit consists of a beaded peaked hat, a jacket, a woollen skirt appliqu├ęd with ribbon, and beaded moccasins. She stands with her adopted son, and it is likely that she created his outfit as well.
One of the region's most interesting people in the 19th century, Christianne Morris is remembered not only as a model for the Nova Scotia painters who portrayed her but also as a talented artist in her own right.