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1923 - 1999
Bridget Moran (née Drugan) (September 1, 1923-August 21, 1999) was a prominent social activist, social worker, writer and mentor who spent most of her adult life in British Columbia. She was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and shortly after her birth the Drugan family emigrated to Success, Saskatchewan, where Bridget spent her formative years. She attended Normal School in Saskatchewan and taught school in rural Saskatchewan until 1944 when she enlisted in the Women's Royal Canadian Service. After her discharge from the Navy in 1946, Bridget entered academic studies at the University of Toronto, where she received an Honours B.A. in Philosophy and English and was the recipient of a gold medal upon graduation. She began work on a Master's Degree in History in 1950, however she soon realized it would be impossible to continue as the federal Department of Veterans' Affairs refused to provide her with financial support on the grounds that they found no women teaching in history departments in Canada.
In 1951 Moran decided to immigrate to British Columbia where she began a career as a social worker; first in welfare offices in Haney, Salmon Arm and Vernon, and then in 1954 in Prince George where she took a position as District Supervisor of Welfare Services for a large section of the Central Interior of BC. For the following ten years Moran worked as a social worker based out of Prince George attending to the welfare service needs of BC’s Central Interior population. However, Moran’s career with the public service came to a very public end when she was suspended from her position in 1964 after she wrote an open letter in a Vancouver newspaper criticizing Premier W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit government for what she saw as gross neglect in addressing the needs of child welfare in the province. Although Moran eventually won reinstatement after a two year battle, she was told there would be no work available for her in the BC Ministry of Social Services. She continued her career in social work; first, for the Prince George Regional Hospital, and later with the University of Victoria Social Work Department as a practicum instructor for social work students in Prince George. In 1977 she practiced social work with the Prince George School District, where she remained for twelve years before retiring in 1989.
After Moran’s retirement from the Prince George School District, she pursued her ‘second career’ as a writer. In 1988 she wrote Sai’k’uz Ts’eke: Stoney Creek Woman: The Story of Mary John (1988) based on extensive oral histories that Moran conducted with Mary John about life on the Stoney Creek reserve. Moran’s second book Judgment at Stoney Creek: Sai’k’uz Ne ba na huz’ya, (1990) is based on her account of the inquest into the death of Coreen Thomas and provides an in-depth analysis of tenuous white-native relations in rural BC in the 1970s. Moran’s next book, A Little Rebellion (1992) provides an auto-biographical account of her public dispute with the Bennett government. The book Justa: A First Nations Leader, Dakelhne Butsowhudilhzulh’un (1994) is based on extensive oral interviews Moran conducted with Tl’azt’en Nation member, Justa Monk, who transformed his life and was elected Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Moran was commissioned by the Elizabeth Fry Society to write the case history of “Theresa” a battered woman, for the book Don’t Bring Me Flowers (1992). Her last book Prince George Remembered from Bridget Moran (1996) provides a series of excerpts of oral history interviews that Moran conducted in the late 1950s with white settlers providing memories of their arrival in Prince George c.1911-c.1920.
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