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Galician and Asturian Celtic Leagues in the ‘80s

The Place: Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Year: 1986.

After my launching of the memorable Fahy Club Celtic Festival in 1985, I began to contact some of the young Celtic devotees I knew in order to gather ourselves under some sort of league. We then established the "Royal Celtic Association of Galician Pipers", and decided to get in contact with The Celtic League, International Branch. By those days we yearn for the recognition of Northern Spain Galicia and Asturias autonomies as Celtic nations. Their secretary at that time was the late Alan Heusaff, (1921 – 1999) “Breton nationalist, linguist, dictionary compiler, prolific journalist and lifetime campaigner for solidarity between the Celtic peoples. A co-founder of The Celtic League in 1961, he was its first General Secretary until 1984”, an outstanding Celticist through which we soon found echo of our aims.

It was Mr. Heusaff himself who helped us contacting similar associations in Northern Spain by publishing one of our letters on their Carn Magazine .

Thanks to it we were soon contacted from Galicia by the “Liga Celtica da Galiza” (Celtic League of Galicia) which led later into the Irmandade Cetiga” (Celtic Brotherhood), and from Asturias by the “Lliga Celta d’Asturies” (Celtic League of Asturias). Hereby you may find the scan of their badges. The “Royal Celtic Association of Galician Pipers” badge is a design of the Argentine Manuel Castro. The “Irmandade Celtiga” badge is a design of the Galician Biel, artist responsible of some designs for the folk band “Luar Na Lubre” in the ‘80s.

We decided to work together for our recognition and subsequently passed forward our whole petitions (both Argentine and Spanish) unto their Annual Meeting in 1987, on behalf of Mr.Heusaff.

Unluckily we couldn’t convince them to enter the League as Celtic Nations, since they have always argued we had no “Celtic language”, basic requirement stated in their constitution and highly connected with the present concept of “nation”.

Anyway they recognized our Celtic heritage and offered us the status of associated member countries, which we rejected since it didn’t allow us to vote at the meetings. Ironically, though the Celtic League keeps on struggling, a large percent of the people living in the six official nations does not speak nor write on their own Celtic languages; just to cite an example, in Ireland, “Gaelic” is the official language but employed only by a short percent of the Irish population.

Unluckily “Celtic Nation” is still a term used to describe some territories in northwest Europe in which their own Celtic languages and cultural traits have largely survived. The term "nation" is used in this context to mean a group of people associated with a particular territory who share a common identity, language or culture, and is not synonymous with "country" or "state".

Even though Galicia and Asturias have common items either in archaeology or cultural aspects, even though Galicia and Asturias have a large number of celtic words in their language, even though Galicia and Asturias have petroglyphs and dolmens similar to those found in Ireland ,Wales, and Brittany, still stand as Non Celtic Nations in concept, but for me and many others, this only applies for books and lectures, not to the beating heart and soul of their people.

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