Many people are ignorant of Cornwall's culture and language because schools fail to educate children about their history, according to the Grand Bard of the Gorsedd.
In her first major speech in the post, Maureen Fuller cited several instances of people in positions of "power and influence" being unaware of even the most basic facts about Cornish history.
Calling on teachers and educators to do more to celebrate and promote Cornish distinctiveness, she said: "There is only one word for this. It's ignorance, pure unadulterated ignorance."
Speaking at the Gorsedd's annual conference in Lostwithiel, the Grand Bard called on delegates to increase their efforts in spreading the Cornish cultural message, adding that schools could play a much greater role.
"Cornish history should be taught in schools," she said. "Children are thoroughly taught English history but Cornish history is absent from the curriculum of most schools. All children need to know about their heritage and our Cornish children should be taught about the past so they understand why things today are as they are."