A CAMPAIGNER is marching to Holyrood to demand an apology from the Scottish Government for the historic discrimination of the Gypsy Traveller community.

Dr. Lynne Tammi – a researcher and founder of Scotland’s Roma Gypsy Traveller History Month – will start the long 120-mile walk from her home in Montrose tomorrow (January 8), culminating in a wait outside Holyrood until Equalities Minister Emma Roddick meets with her.

“It just seems to me that this is the only way she is going to meet with me. I’ve tried every other way” the 66-year-old said.

“I want to tell her about why an apology is needed. But I also want to ask her why there has been such a delay?”

READ MORE: The ‘cultural genocide’ of Scotland’s Gypsy Traveller community

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon previously floated the idea of apologising to the Gypsy Traveller community for historic injustice – including for the so-called "tinker experiment" between 1940 and 1980 - but fell short of making a formal one.

The “tinker experiment” was a programme supported by the UK Government, the Church of Scotland and Scottish councils looking to “integrate” gypsy travellers into mainstream society.

It involved taking travellers from their family homes and rehoming them in primitive and cramped housing at sites around Scotland – all in an effort to cramp down on their traditional nomadic lifestyle.

From Campbeltown to Pitlochry – where the Bobbin Mill site remains – many residents complained of substandard living conditions, including asbestos insulation and a lack of running water and electricity. Children were also placed into segregated “tinker schools”, and were removed into care if they didn’t comply with the required 200 days of attendance.

The National: Migration minister Emma Roddick said the Illegal Migration Bill “overreaches into the devolved

The Scottish Government has commissioned independent research looking into the "tinker experiment". Roddick (above) has previously said on Twitter that she is available but also said she had told Tammi that it would "prejudice" the research findings.

Tammi disagrees.

“The desk research went ahead and that's almost finished. I know that because I was on the scrutiny panel. The lived experience research was put out to tender twice and they didn't award a contract,” she said.

“There is no research ongoing.”

Despite the "tinker experiment" happening before devolution, Tammi argues there is a strong precedent. After all, formal apologies were also given to victims of the contaminated blood scandal and to gay men who were convicted of sexual offences.

An apology, Tammi says, is also crucial for the community to heal.

She has recently been working with indigenous First Nations women in Canada who speak of intergenerational trauma – or “blood memory” – after suffering similar policies of dispossession and child removal.

The National: Gypsy Travellers at a 'tinker experiment' site in Bught near Inverness

“When First Nations people speak about this trauma, they speak about seven generations. That memory comes from three generations before you, yourself, and then the three generations that come after you,” Tammi explained.

“I want that trauma to stop with me. And the beginning of a healing process and to be able to move a family into a trauma-free future is an apology and a recognition.”

Asked why she believes it has taken so long for an apology – if it even happens – Tammi said the Gypsy Traveller community are always the “last group to be taken into account”.

She added: “We don't have high-profile supporters. And because there is still a lot of prejudice and discrimination towards Gypsy Travellers, any government would feel confident in ignoring us because they know that it wouldn't impact on their voting base."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government recognises that the lives of many Gypsy/Travellers have been blighted by historical policies and practices of local and national governments and charities from the 1940s until the 1980s and we know that this has had a devastating and lasting impact on individuals and families.

“The Scottish Government is focused on working together across political, organisational and geographical boundaries to deliver the actions that are so desperately needed to address the inequality and injustice that this community continues to face.

“We have commissioned independent research into the Tinker Experiment to help us understand who was responsible and the impact of these decisions. We are expecting a report in the middle of 2024 from the initial independent research that has been commissioned.”

Tammi will set out from Montrose on January 8 and will be joined along the route by other members of the Gypsy Traveller community as well as those affected by the "Tinker experiment".