To the Editor:
The Ship Hector is the Symbol of Scottish Immigration to North America.
I grew up in New Glasgow in the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s and often say that our generation was the last to appreciate remnants of our original Scottish traditions. There were sill many of the old farms and rural lifestyle. Wakes were still a common occurrence.
My grandmother McLaren/MacDonald knew both of her grandfathers. One was the first undertaker in Pictou and the other was the first white man to settle up the West River.
The lives of our Scottish forebearers is somewhat understandable for my generation; because we saw some of the traditions and the way of life of those older folk and some, our culture was still alive in them.
The Festival of the Tartans was a big event and, in the 1950s, Pictou County was often referred to as the “Heart of New Scotland.”
There were numerous pipe bands and Scottish Dancing was popular for many young girls and boys. Kilts were much more common to see.
It has been established that if a unique culture lies dormant and is not encouraged, it will die within 60 to 100 years.
Native Americans and many other distinctive cultures, around the world, continue to struggle with preserving their uniqueness.
The Scottish who emigrated to this “New World” have been losing their connection to their heritage for many years now.
Are we interested enough in our Scottish heritage to do something that might help preserve remnants of it for future generations? Is it important to you or your children where you came from or who your ancestors were?
There are organizations in the county which endeavor to promote and preserve this heritage.
There is a new group forming to plan the celebration of 250 years since the first boatload of settlers, direct from Scotland, landed on the shores of Pictou.
Volunteers and planners are needed to make this and other events, like the Festival of the Tartans, succeed and prosper.
I am proud of my Scottish heritage; Inglis, MacDonald, McLaren, Marshall, Murray, MacPherson, MacLean, Cameron and Stewart, are just the immediate names on our family tree.
If we are to preserve any of our culture for future generations it probably should be now.