International Gatherings

Members of the Cherokee Nation Visit in 2010

International Clan Grant Gatherings have traditionally been held every five years when members of the overseas Clan Grant Societies of Australia, Canada and the US come to Scotland to meet with their fellow Grants and join the clan march at the opening of the Abernethy Highland Games.

The 1st International Gathering was held over a week in August 2000. Click on the following links for a report from the 2nd International Gathering in 2005 and the Events Programme from the 3rd International Gathering in 2010.

The Abernethy Highland Games

By Gavin Musgrove.

Excerpts from an article which appeared in the Badenoch and Strathspey Herald (The Strathy) in August 2010

Members of the Cherokee Nation begin the march to the Aberthnethy Games
Members of the Cherokee Nation

THIRTY members of one of the most famous native North American tribes added a dash of colour to proceedings at a record-breaking Abernethy Highland Games at the weekend.

The Cherokee Nation tribesmen and women, including their Principle Chief, Chad `Corntassel` Smith - accompanied by eight massed pipe bands led the parade of Clan Grant members into the showground in Nethybridge.

 

 

Principle Chief, Chad `Corntassel` Smith and Bobby Smith
Principle Chief, Chad and Bobby Smith

The chief was the guest of honour on Saturday, and had the job of officially opening the 130th Games. The historic links between the Cherokees and Clan Grant span nearly three centuries. Many members of the Cherokee Nation are descended from Ludovick Grant of Creichie (Aberdeenshire), who was captured at the siege of Preston in the 1715 Rebellion. He was subsequently transported to Charlestown, South Carolina, as an indentured servant. On the completion of his seven year sentence, he became an Indian trader and married a Cherokee woman.

Members of the Cherokee Nation march into the Games Arena
Members of the Cherokee Nation

Chief Smith told the Strathy: "I`m not sure if I would call this home, but it is certainly nice to be among the Scottish people. They are very hospitable, generous and kind. "I am the sixth great grandson of Ludovick. He integrated into the Cherokee nation very early, so the connection is tenuous, but it is very interesting to see where people come from. "We have a great commonality with the Scottish sense of community; a sense of regaining language and preserving culture."

Around 50,000 members of the Cherokee nation are believed to be descended from Ludovick Grant.

Lord Strathspey, Clan Chieftain, said that they had given the Cherokees a traditional Highland welcome by toasting their arrival the previous night. He said: "It is very special to have them here. We have been trying to get them over for a while."

Lord Strathspey initiated the Cherokees` visit while on a trip to Atlanta in 2008, when he met a descendant of Ludovick and first suggested they should consider a visit.

A total of 180 Clan members, including representatives from Australia, Canada and the US have taken part in this year`s visit to the Grant heartlands.

Memory of a lifetime

By Merv Grant

This report appeared in Standfast Magazine, Issue No. 37, Winter 2011 (re. the 3rd International Gathering 2010)

The Clan Line Up
The Clan Line Up, 2010

The sun was shining brightly as we stood around talking quietly amongst ourselves waiting for the call. The day I had constantly looked forward to since first presenting the Australian flag to our Chief back in 2006 had finally arrived. Now I was only moments away from carrying that flag on behalf of all the `Aussie Scots` in the grand parade at this year`s International Gathering of the Clan Grant. My father would no doubt be watching from on high and feeling very proud that our family hadn`t forgotten its roots even though he passed away forty five years ago.

All of a sudden my conversation with Paul Grant, the Chief`s standard bearer, was interrupted when the Parade Marshal called out `fall in`. Under Chic Grant`s direction we were soon sorted into our appropriate places according to rank and nobility and surprisingly I found myself up near the front amongst the other flag bearers in the fourth row.

Cherokees march into the games, 2010
Cherokees march into the games, 2010

Immediately behind the flag bearers were all the men wearing kilts, followed by representatives of the Cherokee Nation with all the other Clan members bringing up the rear. Of course the Right Honourable The Lord Strathspey, Sir James Grant of Grant, Chief of Clan Grant, was up front marching directly behind his standard. From a spectators point of view it must have looked very impressive as we got ready to move off.

Up in front of the main parade the massed pipe bands started playing and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I have always loved the sound of the pipes and drums, particularly the drums with their steady beat heralding a pipeband`s approach long before the pipes came within hearing distance. Today it was slightly different, the music sounded more personal and I thought of dad as I readied myself for the command `quick march`.

The International Clan March, 2010
The International Clan March, 2010

Then the call came and we were off. Those of us who had done military service automatically stepped off on the correct foot with the others not so sure but a quick shuffle soon had everyone in step and we set off down the road with Chic calling out the step - left, left, left right left. How quickly things like that come back to you, it seemed just like yesterday when I was doing my two year national service back in the mid sixties.

Down the road we marched keeping time to the beat of the bass drum with spectators on both sides of the road parting to allow us through, accompanied by clapping and cheers. As we approached the main gate and entered the arena the move forward was temporarily halted but we all kept marking time before stepping off to march the remaining few yards into the arena itself.

Earlier in the morning when I had looked out of our B&B window opposite the ground it had been a hive of activity with people setting up their stalls and food vendors cooking away getting ready before the hungry public arrived. Now the boundary fence all around the ground was lined with over four thousand people, in some places at least four or five deep, clapping, waving flags and cheering out loud. As we marched onto the ground suddenly someone called out `go Australia` and I turned my head to smile and gave the unknown person a thumbs up. I felt very proud to be out there carrying our national flag knowing everyone was watching.

The Welcome Ceremony 2010
The Welcome Ceremony 2010

After marching right around the arena once, the official party including the flag bearers, wheeled into the centre of the ground where the formal welcome ceremony was to take place. At Chic`s direction the flag bearers fanned out into a half circle in front of the microphone with our Chief standing in the centre waiting patiently for the officials to get themselves organised. Soon the official speeches were over and all the flag bearers were marched off the arena.

The parade was over in a flash but the memories will stay with me forever. Like Sir James always says, "it is great to be a Grant".

 

The Chief with the Bandolier and Bag presented to him by the Cherokee Nation
The Chief with Bandolier and Bag
presented to him by the Cherokee Nation
   Emily with Quaich presented to the Cherokee Nation
Emily with Quaich presented
to the Cherokee Nation