Telling Their Own Stories to Themselves

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Presentation on the performative aspects of local commemorative activities in mid-20th-century Nova Scotia Acadian communities.

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  • 1604; Most immigration (NS) btw 1632-1669; Deportation, 1755-63 (10000-18000); Return to Maritimes; c1950: NS 10%, PEI 4%, NB 37%; today: 5%, 4%, 35%
    Clare, Argyle, Chéticamp, Isle Madame, Pomquet
    Still live and work in French (acadjonne)
  • Setting the record straight
    Rhetoric of progress and Providence
  • Self-promotion and comminuty consolidation
    Triple minority in NS: compare to general population, in overall Acadia, in Francophonie in Canada
  • Reconciling with Traumatic history/dealing with the past/coming to terms with the past
    The past was good, not bad
    Golden Age (pre-1755)
  • Representing local past and local victories, foundings and enterprise
    Representing the past how WE think it should be

  • We still exist
    We will continue to exist
  • We have won as often as we have lost
    Our nation/people endures

  • Small communities (a few thousand residents each) organize events
    Events that are representational and performative
    Where several hundreds are involved in organisation and performance
    Nearly all others are in audience

  • Participants are Us
  • Participants anre family, friends, neighbours. Named and known. Near.
  • Together
  • We are modern, despite what is said of us. We progress together.
    We survive. We will survive. We have a history to be proud of.
  • Faith in both senses of the word
    Faith in ourselves, we exist still, despite the past, discrimination and marginalisation
  • Faith in Providence, with Its protection, as Providence wills.
  • Mix of National and Religious symbols as iconic elements of community performances.
  • Performing commemoration. Dressing the part, dressing like the past.
    Costume as visual icon
  • Hollywood movies, 1919, 1929; extremely popular-> Dolorès del Rio costume
  • 1930 pilgrimage
    Establishing the Acadian icon with the costume
    Quickly adopted by all Acadian women in the Maritimes
  • Harney: 1955, Clare, knows movie costume is not authentic
    Research to propose traditional costumes for Clare parade
  • ‘Traditional’ from regions of France where Acadian ancestors came from
    One costume per Clare village.
  • Harney costumes rejected be population
    Rejected because not ‘real’
    Rejected because Harney not part of community
    Evangeline costume for women; Gabriel costume for men
  • Costume as icon
    Costume represents collectivity.In Clare and everywhere in Acadia
  • By choosing Evangeline and Gabriel costumes, Acadians become the icon which, at a glance...
  • ...indicates, represents and encapsulates all of Acadia...
  • ...its whole history and mythos...
  • ...They are the founding couple of the Acadian imaginary
    Adam and Eve of the Acadian mythos (Kasulo Ohta)

  • Telling Their Own Stories to Themselves

    1. 1. Telling Their Own Stories to Themselves Nova Scotia Acadian Commemorative Celebrations in the 20th Century Caroline-Isabelle Caron Queen’s University Sunday, March 22, 2009
    2. 2. NS Acadians Sunday, March 22, 2009
    3. 3. Compensating for discrimination Sunday, March 22, 2009
    4. 4. Compensating for marginalization Sunday, March 22, 2009
    5. 5. Compensating for the horrors of the past Sunday, March 22, 2009
    6. 6. Fonds Aline G. d’Entremont, 300th Anniversary Historical Pageant, 1951, Musée acadien et Archives, Pubnico Acadian Bicentenial, Religious and Historical Pagents, Col. IV, Série D #222, #300, Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne Sunday, March 22, 2009
    7. 7. Commemoration of assertion Sunday, March 22, 2009
    8. 8. Fonds Aline G. d’Entremont, 300th Anniversary Historical Pageant, 1951, Musée acadien et Archives, Pubnico Fonds Aline G. d’Entremont, Bicentenial Parade, 1955, Musée acadien et Archives, Pubnico Sunday, March 22, 2009
    9. 9. Popular Participation The community tells our story to ourselves Sunday, March 22, 2009
    10. 10. Bicentenial Parade Onlookers, 1955, Images «Arichat» #10, Isle-Madame Historical Society Sunday, March 22, 2009
    11. 11. Acadian Bicentenial, Historical Pageant Participants, Coll. IV, Série D #227, Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne Sunday, March 22, 2009
    12. 12. Fonds Aline G. d’Entremont, 300th Anniversary Historical Pageant, 1951, Musée acadien et Archives, Pubnico Sunday, March 22, 2009
    13. 13. Fonds Aline G. d’Entremont, 300th Anniversary Historical Pageant, 1951, Musée acadien et Archives, Pubnico Sunday, March 22, 2009
    14. 14. Commemoration as community assertion Sunday, March 22, 2009
    15. 15. Monument au Plantin, Acadian Bicentenial Celabrations, 1955, Coll. Photo #2, Société Saint-Pierre, Chéticamp Sunday, March 22, 2009
    16. 16. Commemoration as declaration of faith Sunday, March 22, 2009
    17. 17. Procession, Acadian Bicentenial, 5 June1955, Coll. Photos #12, Société Saint-Pierre, Chéticamp Sunday, March 22, 2009
    18. 18. Coll. IV, Série D #244, Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne Procession, 75th Anniversary, Saint-Joseph-du-Moine,1954, Coll. Photos #3, Société Saint-Pierre, Chéticamp Sunday, March 22, 2009
    19. 19. ‘Avoir l’air’ Acadien Sunday, March 22, 2009
    20. 20. ‘Evangeline’ movie poster, 1919, #2002-2, MAUM Dolorès del Rio as ‘Evangeline’, 1929, #2000-22, MAUM Sunday, March 22, 2009
    21. 21. Pilgrimage of the Louisiana Evangelines to Grand Pré, 1930, #79-24-30, MAUM Sunday, March 22, 2009
    22. 22. Mary Harney Coll. I, Série A #71, Div. 6, Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne Sunday, March 22, 2009
    23. 23. ‘Traditional’ Costumes Bourgogne Bretagne MG9-CA-vX-b2-f15, #9, #14, Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne Sunday, March 22, 2009
    24. 24. Evangeline costume Invented costume as ‘real’ costume MG9-CA-vX-b2-f15, #6, Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne Sunday, March 22, 2009
    25. 25. Performing Acadia Sunday, March 22, 2009
    26. 26. 75th Anniversary, Saint-Joseph-du-Moine,1954, Coll. Photos #10, Société Saint-Pierre, Chéticamp Sunday, March 22, 2009
    27. 27. Sunday, March 22, 2009
    28. 28. Evangeline and Gabriel, Clare Float, Bicentenial Parade at Yarmouth, 1955 Sunday, March 22, 2009
    29. 29. Bicentenial Parade, 1955, Images «Arichat» #9, Isle-Madame Historical Society Sunday, March 22, 2009
    30. 30. Thank you Sunday, March 22, 2009

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