Orcadian Kim Foden traces the footsteps of her ancestor Magnus Twatt, who left Orkney to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada in the 18th Century.
Full Circle: An Orkney family reunited after 200 years separated by distance and culture ( Final Part)
“Chief Henry Daniels and council of Sturgeon Lake First Nation had considered the 2004 trip as the first stage in a two year plan. The visitors from Sturgeon Lake had brought with them an invitation to the people of Orkney, or their representatives, to attend their annual Pow Wow in 2005.”
“One afternoon in 2002, I chanced to meet Howie Firth, organiser of Orkney’s Science Festival, in Kirkwall’s Albert Street. He asked if I knew Robert Ermine.”
“While visiting the youth camp at Sturgeon Lake, Robert Ermine had explained the sweat lodge to us and its role in the lives of the people.”
“We visited the graves of many of our relatives but most poignant was the site of William Twatt‘s final resting place. “
“Chief Ermine placed a traditional, quilted star blanket round my shoulders. Robert, Ali and myself, were made Honorary Members of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, a huge surprise and honour”
“We arrived at Harold’s late parents, Hannah and William Kingfisher’s home. Hannah was William Twatt’s grand-daughter. “
“Thus began an extraordinary journey – the journey to meet my Cree relations, eighth cousins. “
William Twatt was one of nine chiefs who met the Queen’s Commissioner at Fort Carlton in August, 1876 to negotiate Treaty Six in order to preserve their way of life and culture while facing starvation and possible massacre at the hands of the settlers.
By 1804 the Twatt Mortification School was built and in use. As requested, it was built in the township of Kirbister, part of Sir William Honyman’s Graemsay Estate.