Bennett, Margaret (1975) Some aspects of the Scottish Gaelic traditions of the Codroy Valley, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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In the mid-nineteenth century, a group of Highland Scots emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia with the hopes of claiming some land, just as those who had gone out before them had done. After over a decade of hard work and disappointment, and still no prospect of land-ownership, where the landlord situation seemed no better than what they had left in Scotland, they migrated to the fertile Codroy Valley on the west coast of Newfoundland. The land they met with was heavily wooded, without any of the marks of civilization such as churches, schools, roads, or railways, as up until that time it had been the home of Micmac Indians and a few English settlers, with French fishermen visiting in the summer to take advantage of the excellent fishing off the coastal waters. In spite of the hard work they saw before them, the Scottish settlers were relieved at last to find that they could indeed own segments of the land. -- As the Codroy Valley became the permanent home of the French and some Irish, as well as the Micmac, English, and Scots, the various ethnic groups at first kept apart from one another, speaking their own language, and carrying on the customs of their forebears. Towards the turn of the century, when they began to build roads, railways, churches, and schools, they became more integrated, although they continued to speak their separate languages for many years. Several of the Highland Scottish families were Gaelic-speaking until the 1960’s when finally the entire population of the Codroy Valley adopted English as the common language, and modified their separate cultures to fit a new way of life. -- One of the last families to retain the Gaelic as the language of the home was that of Allan and Mary MacArthur of Upper Ferry. Allan himself was for many years looked upon as one of the last strongholds of the Gaelic history, culture, and traditions in the Codroy Valley. Well into his eighties when I first met him, he came to look upon my interest in recording his traditions as a last hope for preserving what the younger generations of the Codroy Valley Scots had virtually ignored. As he selected what he wished to pass on, he revealed his remarkable memory and deep interest in all aspects of his culture. His contributions were complemented by additional information from his wife, Mary, who, after the death of her husband, took on the responsibility of making sure that the traditions were accurately preserved. -- This study deals with selected aspects of the oral and material culture of the Highland Scots of the Codroy Valley. Largely from the point of view of the MacArthurs, It is, however, supplemented by information from other Codroy Valley Informants and from what printed sources were available during the research. While this study traces the history of the Highland Scots in the Codroy Valley and deals with their traditional way of life, it also aims to point out that language is of a crucial importance in preserving a culture. Once the language is removed, then so much else is forced to change, resulting in the evolution of a new culture.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Additional Information:||Bibliography : leaves 316-328. -- The accompanying map has been digitized and appended to the end of the text.|
|Department(s):||Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore|
|Geographic Location:||Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Codroy Valley|
|Library of Congress Subject Heading:||Celts--Newfoundland and Labrador; Celts--Newfoundland and Labrador--Folklore; Codroy Valley (N.L.)--Social life and customs|
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