Posted by: A. C. Cockerill | January 16, 2012

Question of the Week #2: Culture

Question of the Week #2:

What does the Native American culture have in common with the Scottish Highlands culture?



  1. That is a very good question. Can’t wait to read the answer.

    • Hi Vicki, What are your thoughts on this question? Cheers, Ashley

      • Hi again Vicki, I’ll start off the discussion. The first thing I noticed was that both cultures had and still have a strong, spiritual connection to nature. Cheers, Ashley

  2. Both cultures honor the earth and adapt to the geography and weather around them, rather than trying to force mother nature to fit them.

    • That’s a great point, Louise. And weather is such a huge factor in the Highlands–changes constantly. Cheers, Ashley

  3. i guess it would be to do with their cultures being essentally banned. In both cases it was illegal to wear or use things of cultural significance and speaking their language punishable by law. basically the ruling society tried to eradicate the culture. (In fact I have this comparison as a premise for a story)

    • Hi Dory, Wow! I can’t imagine living under laws that dictated what one could or couldn’t wear or what language to speak. But, it’s a most effective way to strip someone of their culture, to conquer them. Have you published your story? If yes, where is it available? Cheers, Ashley

      • No, my story still in early plotting stage.(Spirit Bear) Too much on the go.with current piece. I get distracted easily–look something shiny. oooh. I’m lovin he discussion, Everyone has such different perspectives. Thats the best way-approach from all directions. The government here in Canada has apologized and is paying compensation for their past treatment, residential schools in particular.I can’t imagine taking children away from their parents to send them to a type of boarding school because you diasparove of their culture.


      • So glad you’re enjoying this discussion, Dory. Please let us know when you finish and publish. Cheers, Ashley

  4. There is the fact that both cultures are warrior based tribal cultures. Each have a sense of clan with specific nature based atributes, they both have suffered cultural massacre but forces that were neither invited nor desired (Glen Coe, Culloden, Little Bighorn). They both rely on oral tradition in their storytelling, And they share a cultural connection in that many of the early trappers and explorers intermingled with native families creating a unique blend of both tribal cultures here in North America. I would recommend reading James Hunter’s GLENCOE AND THE INDIANS.

    • Hi Jody, Thank you so much for your wonderful insights and book recommendation. My home library is filled with books on Scotland that you’ve suggested at Celtic Hearts and in your great on-line classes. Do you have any classes coming up soon? Cheers, Ashley

      • I am currently teaching a class on the Knights Templar at Savvy authors and I will be teaching my OTHER SCOTLAND: Lowlands/Borders class later in the spring at Savvy Authors.

      • Thank you for sharing, Jody. I’ve taken both of these classes and can definitely recommend them. Cheers, Ashley

  5. My immediate thought was government structure with tribes & clans.

    • Hi Julie, So true. The leaders in both structures took great care of their people. Honor was also terribly important. Cheers Ashley

  6. Many of the similarities mentioned arise from the primitive nature of the technology available to the clans/tribes, and not from any moral superiority, IMO.

    I’m wary of awarding halos based on the “noble savage” ideal. You can’t really say that all leaders of these groups “took great care of their people.” (I personally do not want a leader to ‘take care of me” but that’s just me.)

    My father’s family is of Scots descent, so I’ve got a lot of warm feeling for the Scots, but I just can’t get into that noble savage thing, for either group. Every culture (most every culture; some are just pure evil) has its glories and its shames. No culture is all good or all bad.

    My experience with Native Americans is that they have a strict code of behavior–what is polite and what is rude–and you’d better meet their criteria if you want to be friends. Don’t know if it is that way with the old Scots.

    • Hi Lyn, You’re right, of course. However, being an eternal optimist, I like to think most within both cultures did behave nobly in the small routines of daily life. The Native American code of behavior sounds fascinating. Please share more. The Scottish Highlanders also had and have a strong code of behavior regarding hospitality–even extended to clan enemies. Violations of this code are still spoken of with great disdain, centuries later. Cheers, Ashley

  7. The Highland code of hospitality was one that had its very roots in the origins of Celtic culture that goes all the way back to the ancient period BC, so it held true to many of the nations where Celts ( whether linguistically the P or the Q Celts) that settled in Europe and eventually in Ireland and on what is now the British Isles. That it held so long in the highlands is more a reflection of their isolation and thus less influences to assimilate into a great culture in Scotland than it being a Highland thing. This was an acceptable code of conduct throughout many rural places in Scotland not just the highlands but because the most modern example of the abuse of this hospitality was the Massacre at Glencoe in 1692, by the Campbells (with gov’t support) against their hosts the MacDonalds of Glencoe it is seen only as a Highland thing and that isn’t correct. It was a culture aspect of rural Scotland which had strong ties to their distant celtic past be it Gael, Pict or Briton (old Welsh) .

    • Thank you so much for your insights, Jody. This is why I’ve taken so many of your classes. The Massacre at Glencoe was the violation I was referring to. Cheers, Ashley

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