This week, we would like to shine a spotlight on the work of a new group which has started up in Scotland called IHT Indigenous Highland Travellers (IHT).
In their own words:
“Indigenous Highland Travellers are woven into the fabric of Scottish history. As a community, we are tangible remnants of Scotland’s history that is being forgotten; forgotten through lack of knowledge; forgotten through ignorance; forgotten through prejudice.
But we, the indigenous Highland Travellers, we have not forgotten.
We know who we are.
Our history isn’t written, because we have been written out of history.
Our oral Tradition has kept our history alive for our descendants. It is our time now to stand up and tell Scotland, to tell the world, we have been here before, and we are here now, and we will be here tomorrow.”
Dedicated members of the Indigenous Highland Traveller community have created a group on Facebook and this is just the beginning of their vision. The Indigenous Highland Traveller community group want to promote and celebrate their own unique culture and identity.
Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities often find themselves lumped into one group, but we would like to stand with IHT to emphasise the importance of recognising that there is a great deal of difference and diversity throughout the many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. While solidarity between groups can help with campaigning work, we think it is important to celebrate the rich and different history and culture of all groups who are part of the umbrella term “Gypsies, Travellers and Roma”.
Later this year, IHT intend to release a 2019 calendar which will showcase photography and short stories about Indigenous Highland Travellers.
The long term vision is that IHT will one day have their own workshop which will exhibit skills such as tin smithing, basket making and other traditional crafts and trades of Indigenous Highland Traveller groups for the people of the 21st century.
Fiona Macdonald, from IHT says:
“In so doing we hope to educate non-Travellers about the differences between Highland Traveller culture and language; and the Gypsy and Roma culture and language. We hope to do so in a positive way.”
If you would like more information, please visit the IHT Indigenous Highland Travellers Facebook page.
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background. Friends, Families and Travellers is a member of the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance.