Ignorance at Lake Couchiching

I attended last weekend’s 85th Couchiching Conference, “Project Canada: Identity, Citizenship and Nationhood in a Changing World.”

At one lunch, I sat next to a pleasant lady whose name was Macdonald. Since one of the dominant themes at the conference was Canada’s diversity and we, the participants, were appropriately diverse, I told her that I assumed she, unlike many others in the dining room, did not belong to an oppressed minority.

She quickly disabused me of this foolish assumption.

How ignorant I was!

Obviously, she said, I knew nothing about what the Campbells had done to the Macdonalds in the Highlands.

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3 responses to “Ignorance at Lake Couchiching

  1. Dear Eric, This story hits the nail on the head. Xenophobia comes in all sizes.

  2. Every school child knows about that!

  3. Avivah Wargon

    Er…some school children obviously learned more Scottish history than I did, or have better memories. I remember visiting Scotland’s National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh in my early twenties — when I was living in England — and realizing that, except for Mary Queen of Scots, I knew almost none of the notables portrayed: that Scotland was an entirely distinct country, in which my (pretty fair) knowledge of British, or rather English, history, wouldn’t take me very far. A good lesson, Eric.