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Newsletter for 26th March 2021

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  • Newsletter for 26th March 2021

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    Was doing some editing of old Family Tree pages that I worked on some 20 years ago and found tons of great content. You can read hundreds of articles at:

    I even found an article I had written on 4th July 2003 "Electric Scotland Speaks" where I was talking about how Scots were the best pioneers for new lands. You can read that one at:


    In Scotland the Parliament is now in recess to hold new Elections which will likely tell us if there is any real fall out on the Salmond v Sturgeon debacle but we'll need to wait until May 6th for the result.

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland and world news stories that can affect Scotland and as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines it becomes a good resource. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

    Childcare - Yet another broken SNP promise that is getting worse
    THE ABSENCE of effective provision for childcare in Scotland is a longstanding problem that the SNP Government has failed to address, despite Nicola Sturgeon promising many times to do so.

    Read more at:

    The Hate Crime Bill: depriving women of the protection of the law
    Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that’s sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. THIS IS THE FIRST sentence of a statement on the United Nations homepage on the occasion of International Women's Day on 8th March 2021. Three days later the Scottish parliament voted with a majority of 50 votes in favour of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill which excludes women from protection against hate crimes - crimes committed because the victims are what they are: women.

    Read more at:

    US trial of AstraZeneca jab confirms safety
    Results from the long-awaited US trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine are out and confirm that the shot is both safe and highly effective.

    Read more at:

    Abu Dhabi to invest billions in British business
    Abu Dhabi will reportedly invest billions of pounds in British health, tech, green energy and infrastructure as part of a post-Brexit deal.

    Read more at:

    Closure of Scottish churches during pandemic ruled illegal by judicial review
    Lockdown measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus forced places of worship to shut but a group of church leaders have overturned the ban in court, just as churches are to be opened again.

    Read more at:

    Brexit superwoman Liz Truss masterminds new 1bn partnership with UAE
    BREXITEER Liz Truss has hailed a new 1billion economic partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in what will be a big win for the UK.

    Read more at:

    Merkel crisis as German economy faces sharp decline after Brexit and Covid double-whammy
    GERMANY's economy is facing a sharp contraction as a result of ongoing coronavirus restrictions coupled with the collateral damage caused by Brexit, a new Bundesbank analysis has warned.

    Read more at:

    Artefacts unearthed in Dunragit A75 road work go online
    The discoveries, made while the A75 Dunragit bypass was being built in 2014, included the earliest known house in the area - dating back 9,000 years.

    Read more at:

    Scottish Parliament election 2021: All you need to know ahead of polling day
    The election campaign is up and running to elect 129 MSPs to the Scottish Parliament.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    Canada's Declaration of Independence
    Written by Emily Cuggy — Posted October 20, 2011

    Canada did not enjoy full legal autonomy until the Statute of Westminster was passed on December 11, 1931. The signing of the statute was Canada’s own declaration of independence.

    The Statute of Westminster is a momentous, yet often overlooked, occasion in Canadian history. Despite being granted the right to self-government in 1867, Canada did not enjoy full legal autonomy until the Statute was passed on December 11, 1931. 2011 marks the eightieth anniversary of the signing of the Statute of Westminster — Canada’s own declaration of independence.

    The Statute of Westminster finds its origins at the Imperial Conference of 1926. Lord Balfour, Britain’s Foreign Minister, suggested that all Dominions be granted full autonomy in their legislations. This would establish equality amongst Britain and the Dominions. These nations included the Dominion of Canada, the colony of Newfoundland, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, and the Irish Free State.

    Prime Minister Mackenzie King and the head of the Department of External Affairs, O.D. Skelton, were determined to achieve autonomy for Canada. In 1929, Skelton attended the Conference on the Operation of Dominion Legislation in London. After two months of negotiations, recommendations were made that would set the resolutions made at the 1926 Imperial Conference in motion. In 1930, the issues were revisited and governments submitted terms of the future Statute to their Parliaments.

    It was made clear under the Statute that each of the Dominions would have the right to choose which of the new resolutions it would accept, and which would be rejected in favour of past regulations. All but one of the Dominions chose to adopt every resolution and thus sever all legal ties to Britain; Canada was not fully prepared for complete independence. Government ministers were unable to agree upon a method which could be used to amend the Constitution, so it was decided that Britain would temporarily retain the power to do so. This remained in effect until the Constitution Act was passed in 1982.

    Four years after Lord Balfour first suggested independence for the Dominions, negotiations were complete and the Statute of Westminster was signed on December 11, 1931. The act proclaimed that although the Dominions were to remain in allegiance with the Crown, each would be granted full legal autonomy. Britain and its now autonomous Dominions became known as the British Commonwealth of Nations.

    Under the Statute, nations were granted the freedom to pass their own laws without the consent of British Parliament, and Britain was no longer able to void or alter laws made in its Dominions. Dominions were also free to amend and repeal their own laws, including ones already in existence. In addition, laws passed by the British government would no longer extend to the Dominions unless the Dominion wished to adopt it. The governments of each Dominion now held the power to build their own legislation without British interference.

    It may not be as widely acknowledged as Confederation in its contribution to Canada’s independence, however the Statute of Westminster is arguably a more momentous occasion in Canada’s journey to sovereignty.

    The Statute granted Canada independence from British regulations and the freedom to pass, amend, and repeal laws within an autonomous legal system. Full autonomy gave the government the independence it needed to build a legislative foundation upon which Canada still stands today.

    You can read the words of the Statute of Westminster on the Government of Canada’s Department of Justice website.

    Western Scenes and Reminiscences
    Together with Thrilling Legends and Traditions of the Red Men of the Forest to which is added several narratives of adventures among the Indians (1853) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Report of the Postmaster General
    For Year Ended March 31, 1915 (pdf)

    You can see how the Postal Service in Canada used to make a profit at:

    Early Life Among the Indians
    Reminiscences from the Life of Benj. G. Armstrong. Treaties of 1835, 137, 1842 and 1854. Habits and Customs of the Red Men of the Forrest. Incidents, Biographical Sketches, Battles, &c, dictated and written by Thos. P. Wentworth (1802) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Amy Cruickshank Jarvis
    Aug 18, 1915 - Dec 13, 1964, Poet (pdf)

    An old publication a wee bit challenging to read BUT worth the effort which you can read at:

    Thoughts on a Sunday morning - 21st March 2021
    By the Rev. Nola Crewe

    You can view this at:

    Electric Scotland

    Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
    Hi! Here it is again, another section of BNFT! This time Section A of April 2021 which you can read at: where you can also watch the new video from Beth about how ladies should dress for Scottish events. (Note: Video is at the foot of the page.)

    Our weatherman is predicting bad weather for tomorrow which includes thunderstorms and rainstorms. Just in case of a power outage, here we are!

    There are lots of items you will enjoy in this section, I think. There's a great bit about how to pronounce Scottish Whisky names! Even I could do them pretty much aok.

    The 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden is coming up in April. On the 7th, you'll be able to go online and attend a memorial service and learn some new insights about this tragic battle. Read about it on the front page of this issue of BNFT.

    Gus Noble has been awarded the Annual National Tartan Day award! Congratulations, Mr. Noble!

    You'll find a small photo of two horses and a lady, all three wearing knitted Fair Isle designs. I smile every time I just think of this.

    Six hundred of the iconic red phone boxes have been put on sale in Scotland for just one pound each! What fun!

    For the genealogists amongst us over one million records from the collections of National Records of Scotland are now available online for the first time!

    There are lots more things to read about, too.

    Please remember to send me your new email should you change yours. Be sure to send me any Flowers of the Forest information you might have. In BNFT there is never any charge for these. Queries are also free. Shucks, the whole thing is free.

    Remember, the virus is still out there. We do have to remain patient for some time. It will be over eventually.
    Just take care and be safe, please.



    Mary Peckham: "The Hebrides Revival" - Full Message
    Have added this video towards the foot of our Religion page along with another two and you can view them at:

    Ewing, James
    Lord Provost of Glasgow and MP of that city whom we've added to our Significant Scots section which you can read at:

    Lays of the Deer Forest
    By the Sobieski Stuarts, published by Messrs Blackwood in 1848.

    Very old poetry which you can read at:

    Clan Henderson Newsletter
    Got in the March 2021 issue which you can read at:

    Gus R Noble
    Scot of the Year 2021

    Learn about him at:

    Wanderings by the Lochs and Streams of Assynt
    And the North Highlands of Scotland by J. Hicks (1855) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    The History and Poetry of the Scottish Borders
    Their Main Features and Relations by John Veitch LL.D. (1878) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Donna's Journal

    You can read this at:


    The Creation of Nunavut
    Written by Dr. Peter Kulchyski — Posted August 11, 2017.

    On April 1, 1999, the map of Canada was redrawn: the Northwest Territories divides into two territories to allow for the creation of Nunavut, a homeland for Canada’s Inuit. The creation of Nunavut is testament to the strength of Inuit political leaders and to the flexibility of Canadian political institutions.

    Over the past six years, Inuit leaders have been busy preparing for this event. Everything from new symbols on flags and licence plates to new buildings to house a legislative assembly to new electoral districts and election of a new governing territorial assembly has been prepared in anticipation of this moment. And now, the real work begins.

    The new territory of Nunavut is geographically large, with a unique variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The whole territory, from the glacial mountain fiords of the east coast of Baffin Island to the rolling rock hills of the west coast of Hudson Bay, is arctic terrain, which means that it is all to the north of the treeline.

    What remains of the N.W.T. is frequently called the western Arctic but more appropriately should be called subarctic, since the vastest portion of that territory lies within the treeline. Nunavut can best be described with reference to the distinctive culture, history, and politics of the majority of its inhabitants, who are Inuit.

    Inuit is an Inuktitut language word for people. Inuk for person. For much of recent history they were known as Eskimos, but obviously preferred the substitution of their own term for themselves. While the striking aspects of their material culture are well known — iglu (snowhouse) and kayak (small boat) perhaps better than ulu (woman’s knife) and umiak (large boat) — their intellectual culture and values have served Inuit as well in the modern world as their unique technology did in earlier ages.

    For the most part, Inuit prize flexibility and ingenuity — a good idea is not something to hold back in the interest of maintaining the way things were always done. At the same time, elders and ancient traditions are highly respected. Balancing these two — an appreciation for newness and respect for the wisdom of the ages — will be one of the challenges of Nunavut.

    Archaeologists maintain that modern Inuit, who certainly have a language and culture distinct from that of other indigenous Americans, are the descendants of Thule peoples who were late (and last) to cross the Bering Strait, coming as recently as a millennium ago. Inuit have a rich legacy of creation stories, some of which affirm their belief that they were placed in their homeland by their own creator.

    Traditional Inuit culture remains strong in Arctic communities because Inuit continue to depend to a great extent on hunting to get enough food to survive (and food sharing remains a critical aspect of community economies).

    Inuit visual arts have provided strong expressive mechanisms for the transmission of Inuit culture, and the Inuit language, Inuktitut, has remained resilient, due in part to a deliberate policy of Inuit leaders.

    In the playgrounds of the many Arctic communities I have visited, the language of play has been Inuktitut — surely as good an indicator as any of a language’s vitality.

    The history of the Arctic is rich and complex. Though most historians have focused attention on explorers and expeditions, cultural contact in the Arctic and Inuit responses to colonialism are compelling themes that will continue to gain increasing scholarly and public attention. Although nineteenth-century whaling had some local impact, for the most part Inuit economic life remained in its indigenous pattern until the fox and seal fur trades of our own century.

    Hence there were Inuit Canadians who as late as the 1950s had little or no exposure to outsiders. Permanent settlement into communities was for many Inuit a phenomenon of the fifties and sixties. One of the biggest challenges facing the leaders of Nunavut will be to find a way out of the economic dependence that has become the most debilitating legacy of colonial relations. Many of those leaders were born “on the land” in what amounts to another world.

    Politically the Arctic islands became part of Canada in 1880, though virtually nothing was done about them until 1897 when William Wakeham, co-chairman of an international boundary commission, ceremonially hoisted a flag at Kekerten Island in Cumberland Sound, now a historic Territorial park.

    It was not until 1921 that an appointed council composed of Ottawa-based civil-servants, began to actively govern the Arctic and instituted the series of annual eastern Arctic ship patrols that brought supplies and services to coastal communities.

    The status of Inuit, legally uncertain, was settled in 1939 in the Supreme Court of Canada decision Re: Eskimos, which determined Inuit were a federal responsibility and in effect, aboriginal citizens; however, Inuit were not directly consulted about the governance of their lands and communities until the late fifties. In 1965 Abraham Okpik became the first Inuk appointed to the territorial council. In 1966 the council expanded to include seven elected members, with Simonie Michael the first Inuk elected.

    Slowly the territorial council evolved into an elected, representative body, with Inuit actively involved in its workings. By the early seventies, Inuit in N.W.T. also organized themselves into the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, an association with a broad mandate to preserve Inuit culture and promote Inuit interests. By the eighties, the ITC represented Inuit across the nation.

    Nunavut was a long-standing goal from the ITC, which presented the notion formally as early as its first land claim in 1976. A lengthy treatise would be needed to detail the twists and turns around the question of division that occupied Inuit politicians in the late seventies through the eighties. Suffice to say, however, that a generation of astute political leaders emerged among Inuit, many of them women, who with patience, determination, creativity, and will achieved a vision: Nunavut.

    Nunavut is an Inuktitut word for “our land.” Unlike other First Nations in Canada, Inuit have not been interested in separate governing institutions. Rather, their particular situation as majority occupants of the Arctic has led them to promote the notion of increased power for their public governments (as opposed to aboriginal governments) as a vehicle for their political aspirations. They will be able to use their substantial majority to elect enough Inuit politicians that the government of Nunavut will be theirs. At least, they are able to do so for the foreseeable future.

    Nunavut is in part the creation of a land claim, the 1993 Nunavut Land Settlement Agreement, which stipulated in one section the division of the N.W.T. The land claim is now administered by a body called the Nunavut Tungavik Incorporated, which, as a large capital and landholder, will be a major player representing the Inuit interests in Nunavut.

    Recommendations setting up the Nunavut government were made by a body called the Nunavut Implementation Commission. It was chaired by John Amagoalik, widely acknowledged as a founder of the territory. Its work ended in 1997 when an interim commissioner, former member of parliament Jack Anawak, was appointed to carry out its recommendations.

    Over the past six years, the Inuit community has been engaged in frenetic activity to have in place by the April 1, 1999, deadline, the human and material infrastructure demanded by the new government. Over the next eight years increased responsibilities will be devolved to the Government of Nunavut. By the end of that time it will be a province-like jurisdiction as the N.W.T. is today. Inuktitut is an official language in the new territory.

    The capital of Nunavut is Iqaluit (formerly Frobisher Bay), but every attempt has been made to decentralize and develop regional centres. There are three main regions in Nunavut: the communities on and near Baffin Island, the Kitikmeot communities on the coast and islands of the central Arctic, and the Kivilik communities in the region of the northwest coast of Hudson Bay.

    Every one of the twenty-six Nunavut communities (the total population amounts to a mere seventeen thousand) is its own unique microcosm, and each has developed its own strategy for dealing with the traumas of the past and the challenges of the future. The difference, for example, between Rankin Inlet, which on the surface has the rough-and-ready feel of a northern resource town, and nearby Whale Cove, where an older rhythm of life still prevails, is striking.

    While many would assess Nunavut’s ultimate chances based on its oil, gas, and mineral resource base, it should be noted that there is another resource with which Nunavut remains strikingly endowed — the continued presence of elders who hold a treasure-trove of invaluable knowledge, stories, skills, and values. Culture itself is one of the truly great assets of Inuit.

    For better or worse, so-called “authentic” aboriginal culture — and the commodities it can produce — will only increase in value over the next century. The degree that Nunavut, in its very forms of operation and decision making, reflects, embodies, and conveys the Inuit culture from which it has emerged, may ultimately determine its chances of success.

    This article originally appeared in the April-May 1999 issue of The Beaver.


    And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend.