On August 15th, a ‘nation within a nation’ revels. Acadians in Canada (and, I suspect, worldwide) celebrate their ‘national’ holiday. Acadians are a cultural group of French-Canadian heritage. Acadians trace their origin to Acadia, a colony that was settled in present-day Nova Scotia in the early 17th century. It grew from its original 60-odd families to perhaps as many as 18,000 by the 1750s.
Acadia was passed between French and English hands many times. The last time was in 1713, when the French handed the English current-day mainland Nova Scotia as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. The Acadians, because of the political ‘tennis game’ their colony experienced, had developed a philosophy of political neutrality, siding with neither the English nor the French in the conflicts and skirmishes of the 1600s and 1700s. However, in 1754, with war looming once again between England and France, the Acadians were asked to forgo their neutrality and swear allegiance to the English monarch. They refused and, from 1755 to 1763, in one of Canada’s greatest historical tragedies, Acadian land was confiscated, homes were torched and 75% of the Acadian population was deported throughout the 13 British colonies and France. The rest fled or hid. This has become known as The Great Expulsion (Le Grand Derangement).
After the hostilities ended, many Acadians assimilated into their new homelands. Some also created colourful communities, as did the Cajuns (a variation of the would ‘Acadian’) of Louisiana. And still others returned to the old colony of ‘Acadia’ and joined together with those who remained in hiding to attempt to rebuilt an Acadian experience in northern and eastern New Brunswick.
I cannot remember learning a single thing about Acadian history when I was in school, a tragedy when you consider I attended a French-Canadian school from the 2nd grade until I graduated high school. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to get a better understanding of the Acadian experience. Since that time, I’ve studied, read and shared elements of the diversity and uniqueness of Acadian history with friends, loved ones and now blog readers :). I have always felt proud of my Acadian heritage but also sorrowful and melancholic at the tragic experience of my direct ancestors, despite being over two centuries removed.
I drew one Tarot card from my Gaian Tarot deck focusing on the following: “What do I need to know today about being un Acadien”?
The Hermit – Gaian Tarot: Pursue the experience inside yourself. Pause and reflect in solitude. Make your ‘tintamarre’ (the colourful Acadian parade that takes place on August 15th) an internal one. Take the time to listen to the voices of wisdom who whisper in your ear.
Everyone has a ‘history’. What is your internal ‘tintamarre’? What voices from the past whisper in your ear?
And to Acadians everywhere, “passez une boune fete des Acajins!” 🙂
Note: Free Tarot Talk this Thursday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m. at my space in Orangeville. Please email me at email@example.com or call 519-217-SAGE (7243) for more details.
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