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Part Qallunaaq
Chapter 23. Ownership of Discoveries, and Nakurmiiratsaka


I’ve been fortunate to have complete ownership of all the important elements of this search. I am not beholden to others for the major discoveries of our Scottish relatives. From the first daily journal entries found in the Hudson’s Bay Company archives in Winnipeg, to the “chance” trip to Aberdeen, to the discovery of the records of the Peter family, to making first contact, I am proud of having done all these myself.

Owning the discoveries, however, does not mean I have nobody to thank. Along the way, many people offered encouragement and practical help, some doing nothing more than boosting my morale. But at times, such a boost was exactly what I needed! The building blocks for my search were a series of human beings contributing unique ingredients to a unique enterprise: Finding my mother’s father, the man who gave us life through her.

John MacDonald and Kenn Harper failed to find anything on the first search, years earlier. Those “failures”, however, sparked a tiny flame that was never extinguished. Debra Ryan invited me to a Canadian Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) conference in Whitehorse, Yukon, and kindly arranged a stop over for me in Winnipeg on my return. The late Ralph “Tulugaq” Knight, and his wife, Frederica “Paningaaq” Knight, gave me a place to stay, twice, while I searched the archives. They also connected me to eras past in the fur trade.

John “Johnnyapik” Knight, my playmate of long ago, has three lively sons who found a website for a Revillon Frères Museum in Moosonee, Ontario. David Tait, a Professor of Communications at Ottawa’s Carleton University, ascertained the existence of Revillon records in France, and at Canada’s natinal archives in Ottawa. Ann Mary Stanton-Wijgerse just popped into Kangirsuk one day, and interrogated me on the subject, confirming its great value.

Jonathan King, who is now Keeper of the Department of Africa, Oceana and the Americas at the British Museum in London, invited me to the conference where I experienced my “haggis” revelation. He later provided my “London Bridge” to Scotland, and has maintained a friendly interest in the search. The Cowley family of Northamptonshire, England provided me with an oasis of calm after the emotional turmoil of my discoveries in Aberdeen.

Donald Cameron looked in obvious places nobody had thought about. Cammy Campbell directed me to where Valerie Anne Plante was just doing her job that day at the Aberdeen Town Registry. Some of these things might have been “coincidences”. But I know that the hand of Almighty God wove those many parts together!


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