I am a great fan of Thistle and Shamrock on NPR. I discovered Celtic music when I was in college, and went to college where the local NPR station was broadcast. It even originated out of Charlotte, NC, at the time. This is why most Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM local time, if I am near a radio, then I listing to the melodic brogue of Fionna Ricthie now speaking to us from Edinburgh.
Tonight, after playing a tune that combined the languages of Cherokee and Scots Gaelic, she reminded us listening about the history of these two displaced peoples. The English shipped boatloads of people across the Atlantic to resettle in the New World. Many of these folks settled in the mountains of Western North Carolina and became my ancestors. In a similar fashion, the United States government relocated legions of Native Americans from the lands which they had farmed and hunted and grazed for centuries to huge reservations. The Cherokee experience of the Trail of Tears is, to my reading of history, just one of the horrifying examples of Man's inuimanity to Man, but certainly one of the most gripping.
It gives me cause to wonder if this is why so many Celtic people and their descendents have an affinity for the Native American peoples of this country. I have noted the similarities in the religious and spiritual traditions of the two peoples and how they both honor the earth and sky and water. Perhaps this, too, creates a sense of woundedness that these two peoples share. I know it gives me a sense of fraternity with the Native American peoples which is more than accounted for by my distant blood ties to the Cherokee people.
I know that especially at this time of the year when we are remembering the ancestors, I want to remember and honor all my ancestors among these two nations which experienced the indignities of displacement and forced relocation.