Wednesday 26th April 2017: Mr Jim Corr: “A Travelling Man”
Although born in Dungannon and currently living in Gortin Jim Corr is a member of the Navajo tribe. How this came about was just part of a fascinating life story. At the age of 24 Jim packed in school teaching and went to America where he soon found himself living and working among Native Americans. First with the Sioux and Apache he later won the respect of the Navajo people and became an adopted member of the tribe. He spoke with feeling about Native American traditions and how in many parts of the United States, tribes struggle for acceptance. From there he travelled on and worked some time as cowboy, carrying a pistol and spending 6 – 8 hours a day in the saddle. After a spell as rodeo rider he enrolled in Pittsburg University where he took a Master’s degree in Special Education. Back in the classroom he found himself working with adolescents who exhibited, what educationalists call, “challenging behaviour”. To instil a sense of self-worth and self-discipline in his pupils he arranged challenging expeditions for them – taking them to sea in tall ships as part of the crew. Recruited by a shipping company that owned three schooners he spent the next 30 years running an education programme which won several awards from the American Sail Training Association. A talented banjo player who in his youth played with Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers, he ended his session with the Probus club by performing a couple of his own songs inspired by his experiences as a travelling man.