FEA­TURED FEL­LOW: KEN MCGOOGAN

Canadian Geographic - - YOUR SOCIETY - —In­ter­view by H.W.

Ken Mcgoogan is the au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing How the Scots In­vented Canada and 50 Cana­di­ans Who Changed the World. Mcgoogan, who be­came a Fel­low of The Royal Cana­dian Ge­o­graph­i­cal So­ci­ety in 2008 and served on its ex­pe­di­tions com­mit­tee from 2008 to 2012, dis­cusses his latest book, Celtic Light­ing: How the Scots and Ir­ish Cre­ated a Cana­dian Na­tion.

On why he wrote the book I had an an­ces­tor who lived in the 1700s in Kin­tyre, Scot­land. I won­dered what it was like there for him, and I re­al­ized that his time is a part of my history. That led me to cul­tural ge­neal­ogy, the idea that val­ues and ideas can be trans­mit­ted from one gen­er­a­tion and place to another. The fig­ures in the book helped shape Scot­land and Ire­land, and their peo­ple, who brought their at­ti­tudes and be­liefs to this coun­try. Col­lec­tively, that history is part of Cana­dian history that we have long over­looked.

On Canada’s foun­da­tional val­ues I broke the book down into what I call foun­da­tional val­ues: in­de­pen­dence, au­dac­ity, democ­racy, plu­ral­ism and per­se­ver­ance. Then I sifted through history to de­ter­mine who shaped those val­ues in Ire­land and Scot­land — fig­ures such as Michael Collins, Flora Mac­don­ald, John Rae and John Pal­liser.

On his favourite per­son­al­i­ties in the book I re­ally en­joyed re­search­ing the history of Grace O’malley, the Ir­ish pi­rate queen. I got to sail around Ire­land and Scot­land, and be­ing in the places where this au­da­cious woman had op­er­ated re­ally brought her to life.

On how this book is dif­fer­ent from How the Scots In­vented Canada It does more than sim­ply add “and the Ir­ish” to the ti­tle; I think it sets a new par­a­digm. The pre­vail­ing con­sen­sus seems to be that our history is here in this land only. I think our history, like our per­sonal ge­nealo­gies, crosses the ocean to en­com­pass these peo­ple, so it’s much more ex­ten­sive than we re­al­ize. That’s an idea that I don’t think has been in­tro­duced into the de­bate on who we are. It’s an in­ter­est­ing hu­man ge­og­ra­phy story.

Au­thor Ken Mcgoogan in his an­ces­tors’ home­town of Kin­tyre, Scot­land.

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