Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

6/9/2008

Clearances statue unveiled in Canada

A statue commemorating the tens of thousands of Scots forced to leave their homes during the Highland Clearances will be unveiled in Canada by Minister for Environment Michael Russell tomorrow (Saturday).

The Settlers Monument – named Exiles – is the first statue outside of Scotland which commemorates those who left during the Clearances.

A twin statue – Emigrants – was unveiled by First Minister Alex Salmond in July 2007. Further monuments are planned in other international locations.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling in Winnipeg, Canada, Mr Russell, also encouraged Canadians of Scottish ancestry to return to their roots in 2009 and join the Homecoming Scotland celebrations.

He said:

“The Highland Clearances are a dark and turbulent chapter in Scotland’s history but it is important that we remember them and recognise the legacy they have left behind – both in Scotland and around the world.

“The Exiles statue is a beautiful and poignant piece of art that commemorates those families who were dispossesed of their homes and land and who left for distant shores, enduring great hardship in the process.

“But it is also a celebration: A celebration of the contribution the emigrants made in the course of their new lives overseas, recreating a little bit of Scotland in their new homelands; and a celebration of the countries, such as Canada, that not only accepted them but embraced them.

“The Scottish influence on Canadian life, politics and business has been widespread ever since. Canada’s first Prime Minister was a Scot and seven subsequent premiers have been of Scottish ancestry.

“The connection between our countries remains as strong as ever. The presence of the St Andrew’s Society here in Winnipeg and this statue is evidence of that ongoing link.

“There are an estimated 100 million people around the world who claim Scottish ancestry and the Scottish Government greatly values the members of this worldwide family, who are among the best ambassadors for Scotland.

“That is why we’re inviting them to come home next year and join us in celebrating the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns.

“Homecoming Scotland 2009 will be a year-long celebration of Scotland’s contributions to the world: Burns himself, whisky, golf, great Scottish minds and innovations, and our rich culture and heritage that lives on at home and abroad. It will be a fantastic year for diaspora Scots and for the people of Scotland.”

In July 2007, the First Minister unveiled a statue – Emigrants – in Helmsdale, Sutherland, to commemorate those who left during the Highland Clearances.

The Exiles statue being unveiled by the Minister for the Environment tomorrow (Saturday) twins the Helmsdale monument. Dennis MacLeod, who was born in Strath of Kildonan and now lives in Canada, is the man behind both statues and aims to erect others where those displaced by the Clearances settled.

Exiles is a ten foot high bronze statue which depicts a family of four departing Scotland and looking ahead to a new future. It is situated close to the historic Red River in Winnipeg, where the Earl of Selkirk settled Scottish families.
source-Scottish Parliament

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