TNP134: Decolonizing Scottish Highland History and Radicalizing Gaelic Folk Culture with Michael Newton

88 minutes

I’m speaking with Celtic studies and Gaelic scholar, Michael Newton. He’s a researcher and teacher with a history of recovering and interpreting original sources of Scottish Highland language, literature and tradition. He’s written multiple books and even produced and performed on an album of songs in Gaelic, and that’s how I discovered Michael’s work on my journey to learn to sing Gaelic laments and blessings, and learning about the tradition of keening, (which is a thing I do on certain occasions).

Michael has a folk school called The Hidden Glen where he offers online courses on topics in Gaelic culture and folklore. I’ve taken two of the courses:

Reclaiming the Roots (6 classes, new intake January 2020) is about deepening the understanding of Scottish Highland heritage during the era of the clan systems and the importance of the relationship to land and relationships with the more-than-human world. 

Stories of Scottish Highland Immigration is about the experience of Gaels in the New World as told by Gaels themselves – we learn about the complex reasons for mass migration through their songs and remnants of the Gaelic bardic tradition.

And a new course in 2020 I’m excited to be taking is called Radicalizing The Roots: Deconstructing Whiteness Through Gaelic lenses and Decolonizing Scottish Heritage. This one feels like a natural extension if you're doing social justice or ancestral reclamation and healing work. (6 classes, new intake January 2020)

Resources for deeper inquiry:
Decolonization Is For Everyone, Especially White People (Part 1)

Decolonization Is For Everyone, Especially White People (Part 2)

Decolonization Is For Everyone, Especially White People (Part 3)

Books:
Warriors Of The Word: The World Of the Scottish Highlanders (Kindle)

Seanchaidh na Coille: Memory-Keeper Of The Forest: An Anthology of Scottish-Gaelic Literature of Canada

A Handbook Of The Scottish Gaelic World

Papers:
Academia.edu

Michael's Patreon Page

 

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