Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A History of Acadia - Part III


I do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Second, so help me God.

When deported the Acadians were dispersed to the colonies as follows: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Caroline, England and France.

The 1,200 sent to Virginia were not allow to disembark because they had not been expected and they were not wanted. Having arrived in the fall of 1755, they were sent to England in the spring of 1756. Once in England, they were dispersed to Bristol, Falmouth, Liverpool and Southampton where they were detained (held prisoners) for seven years. When the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763, they were repatriated to France. Many of these Acadians, or those who survived,  eventually sailed for Louisiana in 1785 to reunite with others who had gone there in 1763 from Maryland. 
Sadly, the Acadians repatriated to France did not fit and were not all that welcomed.. Their attitudes, customs, and language were different. Other than sharing a common religion and more or less a common language, the Acadians had little in common with the French. France had paid little attention to their Acadian colony.  As a result, the French language spoken by the Acadians established Acadia had not evolved over time as had the language in France.  The same can be said regarding customs, clothing and traditions.


More Deportations would follow the one of 1755. When the British remembered that earlier they had allowed a good number of Acadians to move to Ile St-Jean [Prince Edward Island], it was decided that they too would be deported. In 1758, the Deportation of Acadians from Ile St-Jean took place. These Acadians were deported to France. Hundreds of lives were lost at sea when the Duke William, the Violet and the Ruby went down. It is however interesting to note that some Acadians escaped the Deportation on Ile St-Jean by escaping to Malpèque. The British did not realize they were hiding there and they were never found and deported. Some of these families are those who would later become the founding families of Tignish. The families consisted of Arsenault, Bernard, Chiasson, DesRoches, Doucet, Gaudet, Poirier and Richard.
 On the Islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, deportations would last until the 1780s.  One woman had been deported from Grand-Pre as a child.  After 1763 she was at St-Pierre et Miquelon where she was deported twice again.  Finally, she made her way to Quebec where she was present at the wedding of a family member.
Post Exile:  Acadians mobilize to be recognized and not forgotten as a culture
It was on the occasion of their second national convention, held in Miscouche on Prince Edward Island in 1884*, that the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces chose their flag and national anthem. They adopted the French Tricolor in order to demonstrate that they were not forgetful of the origins of their ancestors. What distinguishes the Acadian flag from that of France is a star "Face of Mary", situated in the blue rectangle of the former, for the color blue is symbolic of the Virgin Mary. This star, "Stella Maris", which is praised in the Acadian national anthem, guides the Acadian people through their hardships.
It bears the papal color as being representative of the unwaivering adherence of the Acadians to the Roman Catholic Church. In 1984, we witnessed the 100th anniversary of the act which, for Acadians, having chosen this flag and anthem is symbolic of their emergence as a people.
*In August, 2000, the Federal Heritage department of Prince Edward Island at Miscouche, unveiled an Historic Places plaques commemorating the second Acadian National Conference in 1884. (This information received from James Perry/Poirier who lives on Prince Edward Island.)
Massachusetts State Archives
Excerpts and informational background from The History of Grand-Pré by John Frederic Herbin
Collège Ste-Anne, Church Point, Nova Scotia

© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
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