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Electric Scotland News

Scottish North American Leadership Conference
October 19 - 21, 2018
The Kilgour Centre, Troy, Michigan

Transferring our Scottish Heritage to the next generation through music, art and culture

Join us as we undertake discussion and exchange around the important topic of ensuring the legacy of our Scottish heritage to the next generation - add your voice to the conversation.

The Scottish North American Leadership Conference meets annually and, for 2018, the conference is hosted by the Detroit St Andrew's Society at their home, Kilgour Centre in Troy, Michigan.

Using panels and presentations by experts in the genre, SNALC will listen for the blended voices of our speakers, our attendees, and our younger guests.

There will also be performances by musicians and artists representing traditional and modern Scottish performing arts.

Here is the video introduction to this newsletter...

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 as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. 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.

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Got in Section 2 of the September 2018 issue

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Gers: Whose subsidy, and where?
The latest figures on taxation and spending in Scotland provide fresh fuel to keep constitutional debates burning

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New Zealand comic scoops coveted Fringe comedy award
New Zealand comic Rose Matafeo has won the biggest comedy award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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UK to start work on satellite system to rival EU's Galileo
Britain is to start work on its own satellite navigation system to rival the European Union’s Galileo project because the UK’s access to sensitive security information could be restricted after Brexit

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CANZUK Is An Open Door Politicians Should Be Queuing To Push It
Matt Kilcoyne explains why the UK should embrace free movement and trade with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and open up a new world for British citizens outside of the European Union.

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CANZUK Adopted As Official Federal Party Policy
CANZUK International’s proposals for free movement, trade and foreign policy cooperation between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have been adopted as official federal party policy for the Conservative Party of Canada, following the party’s convention in Halifax.

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National title drives Brooke Henderson into Canadian golf lore
CP Women's Open victory breaks 45-year drought for Canadians at home tournament

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Gaelic archive of songs and stories unlocked for first time
Their songs and stories speak of a different time in Scotland’s history.

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The false assumptions behind Project Fear 2.0
A no-deal outcome would be far from ideal but the Government's warnings are overblown

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The Lonach Highlanders march on for 177th year
Armed with eight-foot long pikes and Lochaber axes, it is believed the Lonach Highlanders are the largest body of non-military men in the country to carry ceremonial weapons.

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Why is Brexit Britain getting entangled in the EU’s defence structures?
In the weeks after the release of the Chequers Plan, observers have revealed yet more reasons why it is a bad deal for our country.

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Ancient clan seal found in castle ruins
A clan seal dating from the bitter feud between the Campbells and MacDonalds has been found in ruins on an island off the west coast of Scotland.

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The BRINO Coup has Failed by Robert Lee
Robert Lee believes that the Chequers coup has failed. He explains why he believes that a Clean Brexit - either through a Canada-style agreement or through a No Deal is after all going to happen.

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Electric Canadian

When I first came to Canada I had a very hard time trying to find a curry restaurant and indeed it was only after getting to Guelph some months after I arrived that I eventually got my curry.

The reason that I mention this is that I have recently found a very good alternative and it is...

Butter Chicken 2lb
We believe our Butter Chicken is as good (or better) as what you’ll find in a restaurant. Its creamy, mildly spicy tandoori-style sauce is made from cream, butter, and tomatoes, mixed with seasoned white chicken pieces and fragrant basmati rice.

Sale Price:$6.99

So you might check to see if there is an M&M Food store near you and if there is I'd highly recommend trying this product. They only sell frozen food but I confess since finding them I'm using them more and more. For example I prefer their frozen fish as it's thicker than standard offerings in other supermarkets.

Canada and its Provinces
Added Volume XI. The Dominion: Missions; Arts and Letters Part I. which you can read at:

The Engineering Journal
Added the volume for

Includes topics on: Aeronautical Research Canada, Agricultural Engineering, Air Conditioning, Air Pollution, Atomic Bombs, Bailey Bridges, Book Reviews, Bridges, Building Design, Citizenship, Civil Defence, Cold Weather Construction, Dams, Emigration, Engineering Education, Helicopters, Hydro-Electric Plants, Industrial Relations, Irrigation, Obituaries, Pulp and Paper Research, Railways, Rivers: Ice Control, Ships, Soil Mechanics, Spillways, Street Traffic Control, Surveying, Trusses , Tunnels, Wasteways, etc.

Mining Review
Added the volume for 1903 at:

Historical and Descriptive Account of the Island of Cape Breton
And of its Memorials of the French Regime with bibliographic, Historical and Critical Notes by J. G. Rourinot (1892) (pdf)

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Farm Boys and Girls
By William A. McKeever (1913) (pdf)

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Across the Prairie Lands of Manitoba and the Canadian North-West
A Wiltshire Man's Travels in the Summer of 1882 by Sidney J. Pocock

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Rural Life in Canada
Its Trend and Tasks by John MacDougall (1913) (pdf)

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Prairie and Rocky Mountain Adventures
Or Life in the West to which will be added a View of the States and Territorial Regions of our Western Empire embracing History, Statistics and Geography and Descriptions of the Chief Cities of the West by John C. Van Tramp (1866) (pdf) Note that this is mainly for the USA but there is a chapter on the Red River Settlement.

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Conrad Black

Trump Has Already Won on Impeachment

Electric Scotland

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Got in section 2 of the September 2018 issue which you can read at:

Permanent Organization of the Royal Air Force
The scheme outlined in the following memorandum on the permanent organization of the Royal Air Force has been prepared during the course of the present year under my directions by the Chief of the Air Staff, and has in principle received the approval of the Cabinet.

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The Pillar-Towers of Scotland
By Thomas A. Wise (pdf)

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Sergeant York and His People
Sam K. COWAN (1869 - ?). An audio recording of From a cabin back in the mountains of Tennessee, forty-eight miles from the railroad, a young man went to the World War.

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The Eastern Question
From the Treaty of Paris 1856 to the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, and to the second Afghan War by the Duke of Argyll in 2 volumes.

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Guide to the Highlands and Islands including Orkney and Zetland
Description of their scenery, statistics, antiquities, and natural history containing also directions for visiting the Lowlands of Scotland with descriptive notices, maps, views, tables of distances, notices of Inns, &c. by George Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness (third edition) carefully revised, enlarged and remodelled. (1850) (pdf)

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Husbandry of Scotland
Sketch of Chapter II on the Practical details of the Scotch System of Husbandry by Sir John Sinclair (1810) (pdf)

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UK Overseas Territories
An overview of the UK Overseas Territories and many small documentaries about them.

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Jane's All The World's Aircraft
1947, thirty fifth year of issue compiled and edited by Leonard Bridgman (pdf). Lots of adverts so actual list start at page 121.

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The Story

The White Head Hunter

HE RETURNED home to a hero’s welcome and fleeting celebrity in the best Orcadian seafaring tradition.

When young Jack Renton arrived back in 19th century Stromness, he had beguiling tales to tell of astonishing adventures in the faraway Pacific.

Renton amazed Victorian society with his account of how he was shanghaied, captured by South Seas headhunters, and - against the odds - survived for eight years in "the most savage place on Earth" before escaping on a slave ship to civilisation.

The spear he brought back with him still has pride of place in an Orkney collection and a gruesome souvenir, a necklace of 64 human teeth, lies in the National Museum of Scotland.

But new research has revealed a grim truth that Renton could not admit and Victorian society did not want to hear: he survived his encounter with the famously brutal tribes of the remote Solomon Islands by taking human heads.

The sanitised picture Renton drew of himself has been destroyed as a result of the oral history of the Solomon Islanders, who today still talk about the white-skinned headhunter who lived in their midst and became a revered warrior.

According to Mike McCoy, an Australian biologist who lived among the modern-day islanders for 26 years: "There is no doubt that Renton became a headhunter. He would have had to for his street credibility. The islanders recall even now what a strong warrior he was."

Renton’s story is to be retold in a new book, The White Headhunter, by a researcher who spent several years collecting an oral history of the people of Malaita, an island in the Solomon group, east of New Guinea, where the Scotsman arrived as a captive in the 1868.

Like many 19th century Scottish islanders, Renton took to the sea to make his living and he was just 20 when he was shanghai-ed along with four other sailors in San Francisco. Their subsequent decision to escape in an open boat ended in disaster. The men drifted for about 40 days before being cast ashore on a coast shunned by all mariners of the time because of its ferocious headhunting tribes.

Three of his emaciated companions died from the effects of their ocean ordeal but the fourth was clubbed to death by one tribe of Solomon Islands natives. Renton had a stroke of luck, being captured by a rival tribe that had previously held a white man prisoner.

He was taken to their home island of Sulufou, stripped of his clothes and possessions but kept alive by the chief initially for his "novelty value".

When he demonstrated his willingness to go native, while enhancing his value by passing on the net-making, sailing, fishing and gardening skills he had learned as a boy in Orkney, his captors grew to accept him.

It was a process eased by his closeness to the chief of the tribe who eventually adopted him, describing him as his "first born son". He protected Renton from bullying by young warriors until he had mastered the language and he remains revered on the island to this day.

"It is amazing," said McCoy. "The paramount chief has a huge blown-up photographic portrait of Renton in his hut. When I showed people another picture of Renton from the Australian national library, one old woman reached out her hand to touch it and murmured ‘Jackie, Jackie.’ It was unbelievable and so moving."

But the Orcadian’s involvement with his new hosts did not stop at teaching them farming and fishing skills. The tribe, known as the ‘salt-water people’, lived on a tiny, artificial island built over five centuries ago by resourceful Melanesians to escape the malaria-infested jungles of the principal island of Malaita. They were perpetually at war with the ‘bush people’, cannibals who inhabited the main island, and Renton frequently took part in head-hunting expeditions.

McCoy said: "Renton was accepted into male society and lived in the men’s long house. He apparently killed several people from inland and, by his own admission, took heads. His warrior prowess and closeness to the salt-water people chief, Kabou, led to the bush people putting a bounty on his head. When he went to his favourite spots - one was an idyllic-looking natural swimming pool on the main island - he always had an armed guard to protect him."

Renton became a hero to the Malaitans and helped prepare them for their forthcoming inevitable collision with white ‘civilisation’. But after eight years of more or less permanent warfare, tit-for-tat raiding and headhunting, he grasped a rare opportunity for freedom. A ‘Blackbirder’, one of the dozens of South Seas slave-trading vessels, anchored at a safe distance offshore at Sulufou. Renton persuaded Kabou to allow him to contact the slave ship.

He wrote a poignant message in charcoal on a piece of driftwood that read: "John Renton. Please take me off to England."

The message, written in a childish hand, was taken out to the ‘Blackbirder’ by islanders and is now in the National Library of Australia.

"Malaitan oral history has it," revealed McCoy, "that Renton was picked up by his uncle, a Captain Mori. In fact, it was a Scottish ship’s captain called Murray. He left but promised to return to the island with goods to help the islanders build an easier life."

When he arrived back in Australia he was an instant celebrity and the subject of extensive newspaper coverage.

Throughout his disappearance Renton’s father had always believed that young Jack was still alive and had made several attempts to trace him. Young Renton’s return to Stromness was triumphant and is still commemorated in the town’s museum.

But Renton could not adjust back to the cold northern climate and began longing for the South Seas. He also had a promise to keep and within six months he was back on Sulufou with sheets of iron roofing, axes, hammers, barrels of nails and a grindstone that was used up until the 1960s.

With his language skills, Renton was also hired as part of the Queensland government’s campaign to regulate the ‘Blackbirders’, whose sickening human trade had become the scourge of the South Seas. It was during this period of his life, in 1878, that Renton met the fate he had so carefully tried to avoid. When his ship arrived at Aoba in the New Hebrides, en route to Australia, Renton, aged 30, and a colleague went ashore for fresh water. When they failed to return, a party was sent to investigate. They found the bodies of Renton and his companion - minus their heads.

"When the news got back to Sulufou," said McCoy, "the ’salt water people’ were furious. They formed a war party and demanded to be taken to the New Hebrides to wipe out the perpetrators. It was a measure of the esteem that Renton was held in and still is. His name will live forever in the folklore of the Malaitan people."

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