"Allo! ..hI'me 'ome!"
My very fond memories of the Acadian culture in the Maritimes was highlighted at Bouctouche (book-tush) New Brunswick. The site of the delightful village setting here is based on a book called 'La Sagouine' by Antonine Maillet, originally of France. and built on Flea Island, which was formerly thought good for nothing, but fleas ( I believe these fleas were ficticious!)
If you've heard of French Canadians who rudely ignore you if you don't speak French, THEY WERE NOT HERE! My first time in French speaking culture, the locals very graciously spoke English to me, as in my limited verse, I pleaded "escuse moi, non Francais...".
The fictional book La Saquoine, (a washerwoman) based on actual characters in the town of Bouctouche, has become famous with plays held internationally, as well as on the island. In fact actors play their roles in the various buildings, as well as on the stage constructed on the large platform on which the 'town' is built.
This is a remarkable story. The delightful tour guide explained in the private tour she gave me (I was the only English speaking person there) the plight of the Acadian people. I got the distinct impression that perhaps the Acadians, Francophone Canadians, felt as inconsequential as the fleas on Flea Island.
This single book has been responsible for a miracle in my eyes, changing lives, giving the Acadian people restored cultural pride and a sense of personal and cultural possibilities and achievement.
(The actress playing the role of 'Mathilda' was completely delightful even though I didn't understand a word of her French!)
Acadia was the first permanent French settlement in N.A. - 1604. The expulsion of 1755, from Acadia, an 'ethnic cleansing' by British and New England authorities, tore apart the people and families, scattering them to many areas. In Louisiana, they formed the cajun culture. If you didn't know, the fabulous cajun and Zydeco music originates with these very musically talented folk throughout the Maritimes, especially in New Brunswick.
Acadians learned to keep to themselves, causing outsiders to think they were very strange. They remained quietly private inwardly focused gentle folk.
'My Personal Guide' explained they have become encouraged and emboldened as a people because of the book, Sagoiune.
See what terrific things can happen in a place thought only suitable for fleas?!!!
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein
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Deborah Pearce is a Kelowna Business Woman & webmaster established with locals and internationals in various aspects of Interiors, Art, and Business for over 20 years. LIVING SPACES features over 140 ARTICLES on Staging, Art and Interiors.
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