Announcing Facing Our History – The North American Gael!

A’ dèiligeadh le ar n-eachdraidh
Gàidheal Ameireagaidh a Tuath

Sgoil Gàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhóir 
is excited to announce the launch of
Facing Our History – The North American Gael

Facing Our History – The North American Gael is an online series of conversations, each of which will also be released as a podcast. The next session in this series, Culloden, Colonialism, and Capitalism, will be on Sunday, 11 July and will feature Dr. Matthew Dziennik, Associate Professor at the United States Naval Academy.

We live in a time when large numbers of people are struggling to apply a critical analysis to historical narratives, and take steps to reverse long standing and deeply embedded social injustices. Scholars have stressed that the English colonization of the Scottish Highlands and of Ireland provided a model for the colonization of North America: erosion of language and cultural practices, breaking up of traditional economies, transforming the relationship to land to that of private property, extracting resources from the land, the elimination of political and cultural sovereignty, and the creation of the idea of the dominated as an inferior people. Many of our ancestors arrived in North America as the result of warfare aimed at dominating and exploiting Gaelic lands and culture, victims of colonialism and imperialism, and the social and economic systems that emerged from colonialism. Some chose a path of continued resistance to the colonial enterprise and to the oppression of other peoples. Others chose the road of assimilating to the dominant society, and moved from colonized to colonizer.

Facing Our History is a process of learning and unlearning. Together, we will:

  1. grapple with and understand the complex impacts of colonialism and imperialism on the Gaelic homelands, on the Gaelic experience of emigration, dispersal in the North American colonies, and in the societies that grew from those colonial foundations,
  2. explore the responses of Scottish Gaelic people to colonization and empire, and
  3. identify how we take actions that contribute to a future premised on justice.

The series will feature people doing truly groundbreaking work in this subject. We will review publications and speak with the authors. We will strip back layers of colonial ideology from our history and culture. We will explore aspects of the Gaelic tradition that help us develop an expanded sense of kinship. We will foster exchanges between Indigenous activists, Gaelic activists, Black activists, and others. We will record and disseminate the sessions. And we will be open to any avenues that the exploration takes us down.

If we better understand our own history and our own experience of oppression and colonization, and the responses of our ancestors to those conditions, we can not only better revitalize our own language and culture but be better allies with those who suffered from the same process.

Tha sinn an dòchas gun tig sibh còmhla rinn air an turas seo.
We hope you will join on this journey.

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