…a fascinating, complex and fiercely proud history of allegiance.
Ancient, enigmatic, colorful, complex: all of these words describe the clans of Scotland, which are part of the country’s compelling historical journey. The clans of Scotland are a unique element of Scottish history that set the country apart from surrounding territories, like England and Ireland. The tribal nature of clans in Scotland separated the country from its neighbors and is part of the reason why Scottish immigrants to Oklahoma related so easily and quickly began intermarrying with local Native American women.
Historically, a clan was made up of everyone who lived on a chief’s territory, or on the territory of those who owed allegiance to the said chief. Over time, with the constant changes of “clan boundaries”, migration or regime changes, clans would be made up of large numbers of members who were unrelated and who bore different surnames. Often, those living on a chief’s lands would, over time, adopt the clan surname. A chief could add to his clan by adopting other families, and also had the legal right to outlaw anyone from his clan, including members of his own family. Today, anyone who has the chief’s surname is automatically considered to be a member of the chief’s clan. Also, anyone who offers allegiance to a chief becomes a member of the chief’s clan, unless the chief decides not to accept that person’s allegiance. That means that you don’t have to be Scottish or have Scottish heritage to be part of a Scottish clan – you simply have to declare allegiance to a clan that you identify with.