"The Clan Cameron in North America" comprises all those of Scottish descent who bear the name of Cameron, or one of the associated septs, and who are interested in the study and celebration of their heritage. That is the opening statement of our by-laws, which go on to emphasize that this included all clansfolk who are interested, and does not mean a "structured central organization."
As an association of those Cameron, we have joined together to pursue that interest. In the Scottish Highlands before 1745, the Chief led his clan, his "children," in a large social unit. Allegiance was based on blood ties, not to a territory. That system was destroyed by the British government in retaliation for the failed attempt to re-establish the Stuart line of Scottish kings who had ruled both Scotland and England until the revolution of 1688. Our chiefs supported the Stuarts in the violent religious wars of the Reformation and the following unsuccessful "risings" of 1715 and 1745. As a result, our ancestors were punished viciously, and Highland culture became a victim of what in this century would be termed genocide.
Camerons were forced to leave the Highlands or sought ways to survive in the military, Lowland cities and overseas colonies. Thus we have come to have large numbers in North America, Australia and New Zealand. Our organization reflects that settlement pattern.
Keeping with traditional, our clan association serves the whole Cameron community through a structure headed by the Cameron of Lochiel, Colonel Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Knight of the Thistle, and our XXVI hereditary Chief and Captain of Clan Cameron. Lochiel appoints a North American Commissioner (currently, Donald J. Cameron of Charlotte, North Carolina) to be his representative here.
The association is divided into three units: Clan Cameron Association Eastern USA, Clan Cameron Association Western USA, and Clan Cameron Association Canada. Lawrence H. Cameron of Pine Grove, California, is Western USA President and each is appointed by Lochiel.
Each Association in turn is further divided into independently operating branches, such as our branch -- Clan Cameron of the Pacific Northwest. We report to the Western USA President and also represent Association Canada and its President, Ian R. Cameron of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. This is because Canadian activities are concentrated in Nova Scotia and Ontario and that the international border does not mean much when it comes to joining in each other's games and activities!
Branches, in turn, may create chapters, as we have just done.