Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Festival FrancoFun - Lewiston, ME - August 3-5, 2007

Bonjour a tous:

The Franco-American Heritage Center is proud and pleased to be presenting the second annual Festival FrancoFun for the celebration of our cultural heritage.

The FrancoFun Festival is made possible through the generosity of our many sponsors and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of them at this time. TV5MONDE has been a great source of support for this festival as well as throughout the year for the center.

As THE Major sponsor for this event, we owe them a debt of gratitude. A sincere thank you also to all our volunteers, our benefactors, supporters, patrons and friends. It is because of them that this festival will continue to be a success and a source of pride for all Franco-Americans.

The committee that organized this 3 day event has worked diligently to present you with the best entertainment, the best food and the best activities available for your enjoyment. We do hope that you can join us for this fun-filled and exciting week-end.

Bon Festival !

Laurent F. Gilbert, Sr.
President, Board of Directors


Bonjour à tous,

Le Centre d'Héritage Franco-Américain est fier et heureux de présenter pour la deuxième année Festival FrancoFun pour la célébration de notre héritage culturel.

Le festival FrancoFun est rendu possible par la générosité des organisations avec qui nous sommes en partenariat et je veux saisir cette occasion de remercier tous. TV5MONDE a été une grande source de soutien de ce festival aussi bien que tout au long de l'année pour le centre.

En tant que commanditaire principal de cet événement, nous leur devons une dette de gratitude. Un sincère remerciement également à tous nos volontaires, à nos bienfaiteurs et à nos amis. C'est en raison d’eux que ce festival continuera à être un succès et une source de fierté pour tous les Franco-Américains.

Le comité qui a organisé cet événement de 3 jours a travaillé diligemment pour vous présenter les meilleurs divertissements, des mets et plats superbes et les meilleures activités disponibles pour votre plaisir. Nous espérons que vous pourrez nous joindre pour le week-end rempli des divertissements.

Bon Festival!

Laurent F. Gilbert, Sr.
Président, Conseil d’Administration
Marc A. Jacques
Attaché aux Affaires académiques et culturelles / Academic and Cultural Affairsz Officer
Consulat Général du Canada / Canadian Consulate General
Three Copley Place, Suite 400
Boston MA 02116
T: 617-262-3760 x3254
F: 617-262-3415
E-mail: marc.jacques@international.gc.ca

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Franco-American Heritage Diverse

June 21, 2007
By Juliana L’Heureux

Although Franco-Americans share a common history and cultural heritage rooted in their French ancestry, there's actually diversity within the society.

For example, the Acadians' history, with roots in Nova Scotia (Acadie), differentiates them from the Quebecois in Canada. This difference oftentimes surprises people who consider themselves Franco-Americans, regardless of where their North American ancestors originated.

Franco-Americans like Francoise Paradis, a school psychologist living in Saco and native of Maine's St. John Valley (The Valley), says she's somewhat surprised to learn about the two distinctions.

"Well, from my experience living in The Valley, most everyone has a little of both the Acadian and Quebecois. Some are pure bred Acadians and some pure bred Quebecois," she says. "But they all get along as one culture. Over the centuries, they learned each other's idiosyncratic ways and language."

They understand the nuances of each other's particular "patois" -- a term used to describe any colloquial language. Acadian patois is rich with French slang words. Therefore, because the Quebecois and the Acadians understand each other, Paradis says, there does not seem to be a distinction between the two groups.

"I think Acadians everywhere have blended with other Franco- Americans. It attests to the adaptability of the Acadians. They like to blend in, wherever they are," she adds. "This may be a result of having to adapt to hostile environments after the 1755 deportation from Nova Scotia."

Paradis explains how the Acadians came to Maine to become farmers. Quebecois, on the other hand, largely came to northern Maine to find forestry work in the woods.

"My father had a lumber mill and hired many Canadians as well as Americans. They were good hard loyal workers," she says. "Acadians, I think, stayed on the farms."

Of course, now there are fewer farms in Aroostook County and The Valley. As a result, everyone has had to adapt to the changes, yet again. Many Franco-Americans from Quebec went to work for Fraser Paper in Madawaska. Those who could not get a job at the mill moved out of the area to look for other jobs. Yet, theirs was a different migration than that of the Canadians who moved into areas in southern Maine and around New England specifically to work in the factories.

The migrants from northern Maine entered various job markets including clerical, machinist, construction and other factory work.

"They were hard workers and highly sought by industries," she says.

Maine's Acadian Archives at the University of Maine in Fort Kent provides a wealth of history about the Acadian arrival and settling patterns in The Valley. The Web site is at http://acim.umfk.maine.edu/first_acadians.html.

A definition provided on the Web site defines a Maine Acadian as, "An American of French descent connected by heritage to the Upper St. John Valley (along the St. John River), including but not limited to genealogical descendants of early Acadian settlers of Aroostook County."

Acadians can sometimes even differentiate themselves from each other. An example on the Web site describes how Maine Acadians respond when asked if they're French or American? Then will say they're Americans.
Juliana L'Heureux can be contacted at:

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Imperial Conflict - New book by Doris Faucher

In Tourist News, Southern Maine’s Leading Arts and Entertainment Publication, John L. McGee writes:
Third Historical Novel Continues Enthralling Tale of French Family in Eastern Canada

Good historical fiction serves history perhaps better than academic historical accounts and textbooks. The development of believable characters embroiled in any particular period of history makes absorbing historical detail much easier and, therefore, more effective.

A current case in point is Imperial Conflict by Doris P. Faucher (Artenay Press, 322 pages, paperback $19.95). This third installment in Faucher’s historical series set in Nouvelle France continues to involve generations of the Manchon clan.

Faucher's work sprang from her genealogical research over the years in search of the roots of her own family in Eastern Canada. While attempting to trace the layers of her ancestry, she became fascinated with the historical detail of the region and historical period.

Her skill as an author is in blending the two to give the reader great historical detail peopled with believable, endearing characters.

This novel details the growing tension between France and England over the American colonies and their respective imperial interests in the region’s vast resources.

The English colonial population had by the late 1700s far outpaced that of the French, and expansion demands of the English colonial population put increasing pressure on the French colonials. Throughout the eastern regions of Canada, all the way to the Allegheny Mountains, both super powers began establishing overlapping claims, and there was increasing tension on all sides.

England’s powerful navy and France’s military might in the area set the stage for final imperial conflict in North America.

These international maneuvers are played out in the background of ordinary citizens of the time, and Faucher gives us a clear and very realistic look at what it must have been like to live in the time. The level of detail in the characters’ lives is very informative, and a clear picture of clothing, cooking, work and play is excellent.

The author gives great attention to the numbers and quantities of materiel and equipment needed to wage military campaigns in the 18th century. Much as a reader is exhausted while reading Kenneth Roberts’ Arundel, as the characters haul a 14-man bateau through the woods, so, too, are we bone weary after “experiencing” the portaging of heavy wooden canoes and their attendant supplies over vast stretches of dry land between navigable waterways.

The previous two volumes in this series, Le Quebecois: The Virgin Forest, and The Rapids chronicle the lives and adventures of Bastien and Marguerite Manchon’s children and grandchildren in previous decades of the growth and development of Nouvelle France. Genealogical details and character lists are helpful in following the novels, and they are very detailed, as Faucher has used church and public records of her ancestors’ marriages, births, deaths, and movements in the area to bring her fictional characters to life.

These engrossing historical novels can be read in any order, but the real fabric of the family’s generational dynamic is best enjoyed by reading them in sequence.