COUNCIL REACHING OUT TO COMMUNITIES
By Chris Hayes -
Cape Breton Post
April 4th, 2013
SYDNEY — First there will be tea, music
and a chat, followed by a discussion that focuses on community
and social connections, before moving into the program, as per
the Gaelic custom, according to the Gaelic Council of Nova
The council will host sessions in 10 of the
province’s more active Gaelic communities, seven of them in Cape
Breton to give an update on provincial and local work and to
give people a chance to talk about what they have been doing,
and what they want in their own communities.
Co-ordinator said the goal
is to provide a space to get together and talk about Gaelic,
with a focus on what communities are doing.
“We are interested in really looking
carefully at what the community mandate is and making sure we
are supporting that, and not just what someone thinks is a good
Cameron said there are many newer groups
interested in Gaelic with a new emphasis on immersion,
strengthening the speaking ability.
“It really ups the value and meaning of
Gaelic in a community,” she said. “It is not just an
intellectual pursuit. You know, it is a real thing.”
By way of background, the council said it
has been more that 10 years since a Gaelic development steering
committee hosted meetings across the province to see what
interest and support there is for Gaelic.
“The strength of the response to these
meetings warranted a small but strategic investment in
community-based Gaelic development in Nova Scotia, which has
brought about a wave of activity province-wide,” it said in a
The meetings will carry on those
discussion, taking a new look at what to do for the next decade,
The council said it is hosting the
get-togethers with support from Gaelic communities and
institutions, and the provincial office of Gaelic affairs.
Following the meetings, a workshop will be
held in June for anyone from across the province to gain skills
that will help them support local community goals for Gaelic,
the council said. “Kitchen table” meetings to talk about how to
move toward community goals will be held in the fall.
For more information, people can contact
Gaelic council meetings
The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia will host
meetings in the following communities on the following dates:
• Antigonish, April 6, 1 p.m., People’s
Place, 283 Main St.
• Johnstown, April 7, 1 p.m., Johnstown
• Sydney, April 8, 5:30 p.m., Grand Lake
Road fire hall
• St Anns, April 9, 5:30 p.m, Colaisde na
• Christmas Island, April 10, 5:30 p.m.,
Christmas Island fire hall
• New Glasgow, April 13, 1 p.m., library,
• Glendale, April 22, 5:30 p.m., Glendale
• Port Hawkesbury, April 23, 5:30 p.m., KOC
hall, 31 Napean St.
• Mabou, April 24, 5:30 p.m., Dalbrae
NOVA SCOTIA EXPERIENCING A HEARTENING GAELIC RESURGANCE
Published on November 12, 2012
Letters to the Editor (The Cape Breton Post)
Throughout the 20th century, despite the
odds, Gaels did not give up on advancing the cause of their
Prior to the Second World War, when Rev.
A.W.R. MacKenzie founded the Gaelic College at St. Anns, did he
imagine that the college would be about to celebrate its 75th
anniversary in 2013?
From the start, he hired the best Gaelic
scholars of the day to teach, including Jonathan MacKinnon of
MacTalla fame; and James MacNeil, Gaelic editor of the Sydney
Post Herald, was one of the instructors for the college’s
How many readers know that, at that time,
the college established evening classes in 14 communities,
including Sydney and Boston?
Throughout the decades, the Gaelic language
has been taught at the Gaelic College summer school without a
break, and many of its students are involved in work requiring
knowledge of the language. These days, Cape Breton University,
St. Francis Xavier University’s Celtic department, and Sabhal
Mór Òstaig in Skye have all contributed to the Gaelic knowledge
of new staff members. New opportunities to “extend its reach”
can make the college a major force in Gaelic development in the
province and beyond.
In 1959, it was in part due to a “strong,
resolute speech in Gaelic” by the Rev. Archibald D. MacKinnon of
the Whycocomagh-Little Narrows Presbyterian charge, that An
Clachan Gàidhealach — the Highland Village Museum — was secured
for Iona, in the face of keen representation from both
Antigonish and Pictou counties. From the beginning, the museum
has been intent on “learning and sharing authentic Gaelic
language and heritage.”
With Comhairle na Gàidhlig (The Gaelic
Council of Nova Scotia), the museum produced Cainnt mo Mhàthar
(My Mother’s Language); and more recently with the Office of
Gaelic Affairs, the museum created An Drochaid Eadarainn (The
Bridge Between Us), a website offering online Gaelic language
tools based on authentic native speaker idiom.
In recent years, the museum has been a
source of employment, full time and part time, for more than 15
advanced Gaelic learners, some of whom have gone on to more
permanent positions, including Joanne MacIntyre, chief
interpreter, now Gaelic teacher at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou; and
Emily MacDonald, summer student employee, now Gaelic director at
the Gaelic College.
In the 1970s, thanks largely to the Gaelic
Society of Sydney, Gaelic teachers from Scotland were obtained
for Inverness County schools. At the time, no teachers certified
to teach Gaelic were available in the province. Today, it is
possible to obtain one’s bachelor of educationdegree in Gaelic
from St. F.X. — a first in North America. Thanks, too, to the
Department of Education’s fund for Gaelic programs, 10 teachers
are currently instructing the language in Nova Scotia schools —
and not only in Cape Breton. Gaelic is now offered at three
schools in Antigonish County, and at Citadel High in Halifax.
From the 1980s on — with the founding of
Comhairle na Gàidhlig in 1988 and the provincial legislature’s
designation in 1996 of May as Gaelic Awareness Month — Nova
Scotia Gaels were poised to enter the new century with renewed
With the Cainnt mo Mhàthar project, the
council has participated in recording native Gaelic speech for
the benefit of learners. With the Gaelic Affairs office, the
council has also been instrumental in producing the symbol for
Gaelic Nova Scotia.
With the official opening of the Office of
Gaelic Affairs in 2007, fluent Gaelic speaker and Gaelic poet
Lewis MacKinnon, whose roots are in Inverness County, became CEO
of the new office, and currently oversees a staff of four. Among
the staff are Cape Bretoners Goiridh Dòmhnallach and Frances
MacEachen, both of whom were able to gain employment in a field
to which they had previously contributed countless hours,
through teaching and publishing, respectively.
Prior to this, in 2004, the provincial
government indicated its support for the Gaelic language and
culture by creating the position of Gaelic culture officer, who
oversaw the Gaelic Activities Program, now transformed into the
Gaelic Language in Community (GLIC) program, designed to
revitalize the language at the community level.
Community has always been integral to
Gaelic life and culture; this is now being strengthened by the
Bun is Bàrr (Root and Branch) pilot program which unites native
Gaelic speakers as mentors with learners, one on one, to the
benefit of both.
When Lewis MacKinnon graduated from St. F.X.
with his first degree in 1992, a friend asked him what kind of
work he would like to pursue. When MacKinnon answered,
“Something involving Gaelic,” the retort was: “That will never
Now, here we are, 20 years on, and a
heartening result of the resurgence of Gaelic in our province
can be seen in opportunities which allow Nova Scotians with
competence in Gaelic to find work at home.
Today, there is a growing commitment to
working collectively and supporting each other’s efforts among
those working on behalf of Gaelic. They are fully determined
that the language and culture will be a big part of Cape
Breton’s, and Nova Scotia’s, future.
Tim Aggett, Dartmouth; Barbara
Sutherland-Foote, Westmount; Emily Clegg, Truro; Ishbel Munro,
Comhairle na Gàihdlig executive
The Gaelic College recently hired
two relatively young Cape Breton musicians — fiddler Rodney
MacDonald and pianist Tracey (Dares) MacNeil — to prominent
roles at the St. Anns school.
MacDonald, who is perhaps more
widely recognized as the premier of Nova Scotia from 2006-09, is
the CEO. MacNeil, who toured with Natalie MacMaster’s band for
several years, is the director of education and programming.
Neither is a “native” Gaelic
speaker, but both are descended from and live among Gaels. And
both have indicated that they want the Gaelic College to shift
its main focus to the Gaelic language.
That’s welcome, because —
ironically and regrettably — that hasn’t been the case for much
of the college’s 73-year history.
An enviable model is Sabhal Mòr
Ostaig, a Gaelic medium college in Skye, Scotland.
In 2007, Cape Breton University
professor Heather Sparling wrote an article on the history of
the Gaelic College’s mod (a mod being a Gaelic arts festival
that usually includes competitions). Sparling referenced Rev.
Somerled MacMillan, a bard from Scotland, who visited Cape
Breton in 1958 and criticized the lack of Gaelic at the Gaelic
Rev. A.W.R. MacKenzie, the
college’s non-Gaelic speaking founder and mod director,
responded to MacMillan’s comments by saying: “Perhaps he missed
the point that the Gaelic College is not simply dedicated to
promotion of the Gaelic language but also the entire Celtic
The question, since highland dance
instructor Kelly MacArthur’s opinion piece appeared in the
What’s Goin’ On online magazine earlier this month, is: Which of
the ‘Celtic arts’ is the college going to continue to promote?
“Eventually, they hope to fade out
one of the college’s longest-standing areas of study, highland
dance,” wrote MacArthur. Indeed, MacNeil told the Post earlier
this fall that the Gaelic College is “moving away from
competitive style events” and wants to focus strongly on “Gaelic
language and all of the most authentic, traditional components
of Gaelic culture.”
There’s a certain danger in the
words “authentic” and “traditional.” Scottish traditions evolved
in Cape Breton. Men joined women in waulking or milling woolen
cloth, local square dance sets were influenced by New England
dances, and pianists began accompanying fiddlers in the 1930s.
But today these cultural aspects are considered “traditional.”
Modern highland dancing may not
have evolved organically in Cape Breton — or Gaelic Scotland for
that matter — but it has been part of the Gaelic College scene
for decades, and it’s little wonder that its proponents are
defending its continuing presence there, although online forums
unfortunately give rise to the type of over-the-top statements
in defence of one “side” or the other.
The Gaelic College faces a
delicate balancing act. The college has run deficits for the
past five years. And MacDonald said he wants to balance the
budget. But a shift in focus could make that goal more difficult
in the short term, especially if previous supporters are
alienated. Stakeholders should be engaged early in any
discussions on major programming changes.
We agree with Comhairle na
Gàidhlig president Tim Aggett — that the Gaelic College should
place increasing emphasis on the Gaelic language while striving
for a culture of inclusivity.
Comhairle na Gàidhlig (the Gaelic
Council of Nova Scotia) focuses on the promotion and growth of
the Gaelic language in Nova Scotia. In the same way that the
Acadians and Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia value their languages as an
embodiment of their identities, our organization sees Gaelic as
an extremely important platform that upholds our people’s
The mission statement of the
Gaelic College in St. Anns is “to promote, preserve and
perpetuate through studies in all related areas — the culture,
music, language, arts, crafts, customs and traditions of
immigrants from the highlands of Scotland.”
Cultural arts and identities are
forever evolving, and all are valid artistic expressions in
their own right. Our focus is on Gaelic arts and culture, and
their foundation in Gaelic language, and we have great interest
in how the province allocates its resources within the Gaelic
Our board of directors welcomes
the concerns expressed by Kelly MacArthur about the possible
discontinuing of the highland dance competition at the Gaelic
College. Her words express a respect for the work that is done
to support and grow Gaelic, and they provide a basis for
discussion about the role of the Gaelic College.
Comhairle na Gàidhlig supports the
increased emphasis on Gaelic language programming at the Gaelic
College. Using an example, we feel that the Acadian community
would not be well served by a provincially-funded educational
institution that provided instruction in English, and similarly,
neither is the Gaelic community.
The provincial government has
funded a ‘Gaelic’ institution for 70 years, but it is only now
seriously exploring how it can address and reverse Gaelic
language decline in Nova Scotia. These are exciting times. We
applaud the strength of conviction that the directors have
demonstrated by making this bold move. At the same time, we hope
to see programming at the Gaelic College that meets the needs of
all its stakeholders.
Although there is no historical
evidence of a connection between the culture of the immigrants
from the Highlands of Scotland to Nova Scotia and highland
dancing or the pipe band tradition, they have become a part of
our contemporary Nova Scotia ‘Scottish’ identity, and they are
deeply tied to the Gaelic College in the hearts of many.
We know that these arts provide an
attraction to the college of those interested in ‘Scottish’
tradition, and are therefore a gateway to introduce people in a
positive atmosphere to the unique language and culture of Gaelic
Nova Scotia. We also feel that Gaelic cultural values of
inclusion, attending to the needs around us, and courage,
dictate that we seek options that support the objectives of all
Tim Aggett, president
Comhairle na Gàidhlig
Various activities help promote Gaelic
PORT HAWKESBURY - Those with a vested interest in growing Gaelic
language and culture in Nova Scotia gathered in the Strait area
town for a full day of activity and consultation.
Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia ends today and the Gaelic
Council of Nova Scotia wanted to mark the occasion with an event
Saturday filled with family activities, workshops, discussion
"There were a number of different groups that hosted events and
shared their own involvement in Gaelic with the communities, so
we feel it's a success and this is really a wrap-up of the whole
month and we're really, really pleased with the kind of response
we're getting," said Caroline Cameron, a co-ordinator with the
Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia.
Held at the Port Hawkesbury fire hall, the event drew people
from across the province. Cameron said the workshops were aimed
at exploring Gaelic-related opportunities for businesses and
The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia also held its annual general
meeting Saturday, and hosted a dinner and gala event featuring
journalist and author Linden MacIntyre as the guest speaker.
That was followed by an evening of Gaelic song, stories and
tunes hosted by Mary Jane Lamond. Nova Scotia's Minister of
Gaelic Affairs Maureen MacDonald was in attendance.
"We're a provincial organization and really our main objective
is to support community groups, because community groups are
really where the Gaelic resource is, that's where Gaelic
thrives," Cameron explained.
She said the event also served to raise awareness of projects
happening across Nova Scotia to promote Gaelic.
"(We want) people to understand that we all have similar
projects, similar issues and challenges and opportunities, so
it's a great idea to get people from across the province to talk
about these issues because it's a great environment to kinda
cook up strategies and encourage each other," she said.
For more information on the council go to
Weeklong Gaelic workshop immerses
participants in everyday aspects of ancient language
Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY MINES - Gaelic enthusiasts are ramping up their
vocabulary by returning to a setting where the language was
fostered for generations, in what is essentially a five-day
Fifteen intermediate Gaelic learners from as far away as Pictou
and Dartmouth are attending a weeklong workshop at the home of
Nona MacDermid on the shores of Sydney Mines, hosted by Gaelic
Council of Nova Scotia .
"Throughout the week the entire house is Gaelic, with the
exception of one room," Cameron said. "Gaelic is a living
culture and the language is one really important part of that
culture. The participants are here because they really want to
work on their Gaelic. We are learning the language by doing
everyday tasks - building a fire in the fireplace, baking
biscuits, washing dishes or playing cards."
Cameron said one of the goals is to help Gaelic learners
strengthen their verbal skills to support Gaelic in their own
She added the week also includes going out to dinner,
storytelling sessions and watching Gaelic movies, all while
"Using total immersion, you engage people in the language,"
explained educator Goiridh Domhnallach, Gaelic field officer
with the Office of Gaelic Affairs division of the Nova Scotia
Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, who is leading
the workshop along with Carman MacArthur. "We will be having a
number of sessions during the year for intermediate speakers to
bring them up to the level where they can apply to the Bun is
Barr mentorship program to help fast track advanced learners."
He said the focus is to take Gaelic out of the classrooms and
bring it back into the homes and communities, adding that when
you are learning a language it makes sense to learn simple
everyday things that you will use often.
"When folks are involved in activities they are a lot more
relaxed and interested; those are two of the most important
things for language learners. The best learning happens when you
don't even know you are learning, it is acquiring language," he
said. "We are basing the learning on Total Immersion Plus (Gaildhlig
aig Baile) brought here by Finnlagh MacLeoid. The more relaxed,
the better the language goes in and stays with the learner."
Domhnallach added that the social aspect - mixing with other
people and having a good time doing a variety of activities, all
done in Gaelic - is critical.
"You need the social (aspect) there, that is what's going to
keep it in the heart and keep the language alive," he said. "We
don't teach the Gaelic language through English, we teach it
A strategy to
preserve and advance Nova Scotia's Gaelic heritage was released today, May 31,
at Rankin Memorial High School in Iona.
Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Rodney MacDonald joined the Gaelic
Council of Nova Scotia, representatives from the province's Gaelic community
and the Scottish organization, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, to officially release
Leasachadh agus Gléidheadh na Gàidhlig an Albainn Nuaidh (Developing and Preserving Gaelic in Nova Scotia: A
Strategy for Community Based Initiatives).
"This strategy is a 20-year vision for Gaelic in Nova Scotia," said
Mr. MacDonald. "It is a statement of how the Gaelic language and culture
has survived in Nova Scotia. It is a plan to ensure the survival and growth of
Gaelic in this province." Mr. MacDonald also announced today that the Department of Tourism, Culture and
Heritage will contribute $100,000 over the next year to enhance economic growth
within the Gaelic community and to develop a five-year business and
implementation plan for the Gaelic strategy.
The Gaelic strategy is the result of three years of co-operative development by
the Gaelic Development Steering Committee and the Department of Tourism, Culture
and Heritage. It reflects widespread community input, mostly gathered at forums
held throughout the province in November 2002. The strategy is a detailed plan that acknowledges the valuable contribution
that Gaelic language and culture makes to Nova Scotian society, as well as its
economic impact. The strategy summarizes the current situation, sets a
framework for advancement and identifies the role of the provincial government
as a critical partner in the process of revitalizing the Gaelic language and
culture and expanding the Gaelic economy.
"It is no secret that the language is in a perilous state, but it is much
more than just words that are being lost," said Hector MacNeil, chair of
the Gaelic Development Steering Committee. "Linguistic research shows there is a tendency for economic decline in areas that undergo language
repression and loss. It is our intention that, with the realization of the
objectives outlined in this strategy document, we will see a revitalized Gaelic
community. In this way, all Nova Scotians will continue to benefit from the
Gaelic presence in this province."
The Gaelic strategy identifies six key areas of development: leadership and
empowerment; language education; arts and culture; community initiatives; media
and promotion; government and legal status. The Gaelic Council, with the
continued co-operation of community and government, will build a series of
five-year action plans around each of these topics. The first drafts of these
plans will be presented at community forums in November 2004.
Rankin Memorial High School student Emily Redden thanked the Gaelic Development
Steering Committee members for their initiative and perseverance, as well as
the department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, and asked that the work begin
with Cape Breton's youth in mind.
"Gaelic is the language of our heritage, tradition, family and community
history," said Ms. Redden. "If Gaelic is lost to future generations,
so will the continuity of knowledge that informs us on who we are and where
we've been. We will become cultural orphans."
International language issues expert Rob Dunbar arrived from Scotland to attend
the event. Mr. Dunbar, who is widely published and is a senior non-resident
research associate of the European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg,
Bòrd na Gàidhlig -- a non-departmental public body established by the Scottish
Executive to oversee Gaelic development in Scotland.
the organization's congratulations and noted that Nova Scotia's Gaelic culture
is a unique, precious and irreplaceable resource that, in addition to its role
at home, has great importance to Scottish Gaels and to Scotland in general.
Leasachadh agus Gléidheadh na Gàidhlig an Albainn Nuaidh (Developing and
Preserving Gaelic in Nova Scotia: A Strategy for Community Based Initiatives)
is available on the website at www.gov.ns.ca/dtc/culture/culture_gaelic.asp . For more information, contact the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, P.O. Box
51011, RPO Rockingham Ridge, Halifax, N.S., B3M 4R8.
On the final day of Gaelic Awareness Month, the Right Honourable Rodney
MacDonald, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, will make an important
announcement at Rankin Memorial Consolidated in Iona, Victoria County. This
public press conference begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 31st.
On this significant occasion for Nova
Scotia's cultural heritage, Minster MacDonald will announce the document
release of Leasachadh agus Gléidheadh na Gàidhlig an Albainn Nuaidh (Developing and Preserving Gaelic in Nova Scotia: A Strategy for Community
The Gaelic Strategy is the result of three
years of co-operative development between the Gaelic Development Steering
Committee and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, which included
public consultations throughout the province.
The Strategy is a detailed plan for the
preservation and advancement of Nova Scotia's Gaelic heritage. It acknowledges
the valuable contribution that Gaelic language and culture makes to Nova
Scotian society and its economic resources. Comhairle na Gàidhlig, Alba Nuadh (Gaelic
Council of Nova Scotia) and the Provincial Department of Tourism, Culture and
Heritage invites the public to attend this milestone announcement on May 31st at 10 a.m. at Rankin Memorial Consolidated.
For more information, visit www.gaelic.ca or contact the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, © The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia - Comhairle na Gáidhlig | All Rights Reserved<BR>P.O. Box 51011, RPO Rockingham Ridge, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M 4R8 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: This announcement was covered
extensively in international, national and regional news media. Seven reporters
were on-site, with many others requesting pre- and post-interviews. Following
is a list of SOME of the coverage.
- BBC, interview with Jeff
MacDonald, week of May 24th
- Shunpiking, May
- The Cape Breton Post, Front Page,
- The Chronicle Herald, Front
Page, May 31st
- Globe and Mail, May 31st
- The Toronto Sun, May 31st
- The New Brunswick Telegraph
Journal, May 31st
- Times and Transcript
(Moncton), May 31st
- The Daily Gleaner
(Fredericton), May 31st
- Cape Breton Radio (CJCB, CHER,
K94), top of the news, May 31st, all day
- Cape Breton Radio, Question of
the Day, ‘Can Gaelic Be Saved?, May 31st, response: 93% said
- CBC Radio, top of the news,
May 31st, all day
- CBC Radio, Information
Morning, Sydney, May 31st, interview with Rob Dunbar
- CBC Radio, Maritime Noon,
interview with Mary Jane Lamond
- CBC Radio, Mainstreet, Sydney,
tape from announcement
- CBC Radio, Canada at Five,
voice report in news
- CBC Radio, Arts Report, voice
report and link on website
- CIGO, top of the news, May 31st
- BBC, interview with Rob Dunbar
- ATV, report on evening news,
posted on CTV.ca
- Global, report on evening news
- Support from Councilor Andrew
Anderson, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport
Committee, issued as release and posted on internet
- BBC Gaelic, Interview with Rob Dunbar
and Jim Watson, ran nationally on their morning news show on June 1st
- RCI (French CBC), feature
piece on Gaelic, ran twice on June 1st, 12:30 and 6pm news
- Chronicle Herald Daily Poll,
June 1st, “Is it a good idea for the province to fund programs
which encourage more Nova Scotians to learn Gaelic?”, response: 2880
votes, 67% said yes
- Chronicle Herald, June 1st,
cartoon, “Perhaps if we started teaching the math curriculum in Gaelic…”
- National Post, June 1st
- Halifax Daily News, June 1st
- The Chronicle Herald, details
of $100,000, June 3rd
- CJFX, feature interview with
Lewis MacKinnon, June 6th
- Chronicle Herald, Three
Letters to the Editor, June 7th
- Cothrom (Gaelic Learners Publication
based in Scotland), article by Jim Watson, Spring 2004
- Am Braighe, Summer 2004
- Shunpiking, Summer 2004
- Canadian Embassy, Washington
- Central Cape Breton
- Engine 101 (Atlantic Canada)
- Gaelic College
- International Federation of
Arts Council and Culture Agencies (Australia)
- News 1130 (Vancouver)
- Nova Scotia Highland Village
- NovaServe (Southwest NS)
- Save Gaelic
- StarCast (Bell Media)
- Wawawiwa.com (News section
- Wren’s Nest
- Ailig A
Dòmhnallach (Alex A MacDonald), Neach-gairm (Convener), Comhairle nan
MacGhillEathain (Alasdair MacLean)
- Alasdair.MacCaluim, Scottish
- Andrew R
Nicoll, Scottish Catholic Archives, Edinburgh
Cormack, Director, Féisan nan Gàidheal
- Caoimhín Ó
Donnaíle, Sabhal Mór Ostaig
- Councilor Andrew Anderson,
Chairman of Education, Culture and Sport Service of the Highland Council
Breathnach, Chief Executive, Iomairt Cholm Cille
MacLeoid, Fear-cathrach, Comunn Gaidhlig Australia (Gaelic Society of Australia)
Martin, Chief Executive, The Gaelic Council of
- Donalda MacKinnon, Ceannard BBC Craoladh nan Gàidheal/Head of Gaelic, Head of CBBC
- Dr Wilson
McLeod, Ceiltis agus Eòlas na h-Alba (Celtic and Scottish Studies),
Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann (University of Edinburgh)
- Duncan MacLeod, Royal National Mod, Scotland and An Comunn Gaidhealach
- Friends of Scotland at the Scottish Executive, Glasgow
- Gillian Munro, neach teagaisg, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
- Graham Watson
- Hamish Fraser, Chairman
Gaelic Select Committee, Highland Council
- Jo MacDonald,
Executive producer, BBC Gaelic Radio
- John Alick Macpherson, Gaelic Media
- John Macdonald, CEO, Highlands
- Mary Jess MacDonald, Strait Regional School Board
- Morag Anna
NicLeoid, Oifigear Leasachaidh Gaidhlig, Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd
- Nicola NicAoidh, Rùnaire a' Stiùiriche/PA to Director, Sabhal Mòr
- Norman Gillis,
Director of Education Sabhal Mór Ostaig
- Pat Curran
- Peter Chapman, Team of An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, Distance learning
Gaelic course run by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
- Rita Hunter, Fèis Rois Manager
- Sarah Gundry, Oifigear
Fiosrachaidh Gàidhlig (Gaelic Information Officer), Pàrlamaid na h-Alba (The Scottish Parliament)
MacKenzie, Director for Tosg, National Gaelic Theatre
- Susan Bell, Neach-clèireachd Foghlaim (Academic Assistant),
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
In the last 500 years, roughly 4.5 per cent of the world’s
recorded languages disappeared, compared with less than 2 per cent of the birds
and mammals on earth. Linguists estimate there are over 6,000 living languages
remaining today, but more than 350 tongues have fewer than 50 speakers.
Scottish Gaelic has not yet fallen to such low numbers, but
proponents of the language are struggling to maintain that status. In Nova
Scotia, approximately 80,000 people spoke Scottish Gaelic at the turn of the 20th century. As we enter the 21st century, fewer than 1,000 speakers
reside here. Despite this drop in fluent speakers, the consciousness of the
Gaelic community remains incredibly strong; Gaelic continues to be the medium
of expression of a collective and is being supported and protected as such.
One of the many efforts to promote the language is Gaelic
Awareness Month. This initiative began in Nova Scotia and is now observed in
many communities throughout North America, beginning on the Feast Day of
Bealltainn on May 1st.
Since 1996, Nova Scotia has recognized May as Gaelic
Awareness Month, with numerous MLAs noting its importance in the Legislature
each year, often receiving special permission to present resolutions in Gaelic.
In his address this year, the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and
Heritage, Rodney MacDonald, noted Gaelic activities in the province generate
more than $23 million annually in direct revenues. He also reinforced the
government’s commitment to preserving and presenting the Gaelic language and
culture for the benefit of all Nova Scotians and visitors, as well as his
department’s continuing efforts to foster new links between the shared Gaelic
cultures of Nova Scotia and the Highland Council of Scotland.
“A tremendous opportunity to recognize the inherent value of
linguistic and cultural inheritances in this province lies before us,” says
Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia co-president, Lewis MacKinnon. The impact of the
Gaelic community, and the Gaelic Awareness Month initiative, can be seen in the
many university lectures, community concerts, and language and song workshops
taking place throughout the province to celebrate Gaelic Awareness Month. (An
itinerary of selected events is attached.)
For more information, visit www.gaelic.ca or contact the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia,P.O. Box 51011, RPO Rockingham Ridge, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M 4R8 Email: email@example.com
||Aon bho a bhristeas an garradh, 's a dha dheug a leumas.
One cow breaks the fence, and a dozen leap it.