Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CMA 2009

For the past five years I looked forward to this year's Congres Mondial Acadien ... and then, at the end, I wasn't able to go.

From Lucie's review, I didn't miss much.

I certainly noticed the problems she did in regards to the organization--or lack thereof.

And it is inexcusable that the organizing committee refused to allow the LeBlancs of Memramcook to host a reunion.

In the end, it was the economy that kept me from attending, just as the economy kept many Canadians from attending the 1999 reunion in Louisiana.

Well, now we look forward to 2014 in Madawaska. Based on Lucie's review of the Caraquet situation, I wonder if Madawaska really has the infrastructure to host an event like this. Are there restaurants and hotels? Can the region host a substantial number of people? Another flop, and the CMA movement may well be dead.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Romeo LeBlanc, RIP

Roméo LeBlanc, formerly Governor General of Canada, and the first Acadian to hold the position, died June 24. The funeral was held in Memramcook on July 3 (and here).

Overshadowing the death of LeBlanc has been a controversy over whether the Prime Minister of Canada should have received communion at the funeral.

I had the pleasure of meeting LeBlanc in 1999 at the LeBlanc family reunion in Erath, LA, held in conjunction with that year's Congres Mondial Acadien. His body guards pressed close, but he brushed them off and told them to enjoy themselves saying, "I'm with my family."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Acadian Map has created a map of where Acadians live--add your name here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

CMA Update: LeBlanc, Melanson, and Bourque Reunion

Here's the press release. Bummer--it's on August 21--several days after I've already returned home. The previous LeBlanc reunions were held just prior to August 15. To have the CMA climax on August 23 makes no sense--to have these family reunions on August 21 is like celebrating the Fourth of July on Bastille Day.

LeBlancs, Melansons and Bourques get ready: you will be having a reunion at the 2009 Congrès mondial acadien 2009!

(LAFAYETTE, LA - May 4, 2009) With less than 100 days left until the 4th Congrès mondial acadien kicks off in New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, over 85 Acadian family organizations are preparing their reunions.

The Congrès mondial acadien (CMA) is an international event that brings Acadians of the world together every five years in a different Acadian heartland. The two to three-week event features a diverse program of events such as community fairs, huge outdoor concerts, artistic performances, conferences, family reunions, sport and much more that attract Acadians from Eastern Canada, Louisiana, Québec, France and elsewhere. Seeing as Acadian heritage is the common thread connecting the participants, the family reunion component of the CMA is very popular. Therefore, as the Peninsula prepares, in Louisiana, Cajuns are planning their trips to Canada and their participation in these reunions. However, for the past few months, this southern Acadian community has been troubled by the absence of certain major families from the roster of official CMA Reunions. The Bourque, Melanson and most notably LeBlanc families weren’t planning on getting together for this historic gathering even though at past Congrès’ the LeBlanc reunion attracted thousands. Seeing an opportunity to remedy the situation, Louisiane-Acadie, Inc. decided to lend a hand and take on the challenge of coordinating one event for the three families.

Louisiane-Acadie, whose mandate it is to represent the Acadians of Louisiana on the international stage, took on the project knowing that it could only be successful if it was built on partnerships with organizations and individuals in “Acadie du Nord”. It didn’t take long for Acadian resourcefulness to take effect and numerous partners got involved in this pan-Acadian initiative. Incidentally, a date and evening entertainment were indentified thanks to legendary Acadian band 1755, a venue was secured thanks to the Town of Tracadie-Sheila, participants will be able to get information and register online thanks to, great Cajun food will be served thanks to Louisiana Office of Tourism and the word will spread like wildfire thanks to CAFA (Confederation of Associations of Families Acadian in Louisiana) and FAFA (Fédération des associations de familles acadiennes in New Brunswick).

“It’s heartwarming to see Acadians coming together to make sure that LeBlancs, Melansons and Bourques also get to have a memorable reunion. When Cajuns need a hand, our Acadian cousins are there and now, we are able to return the favor on a much smaller scale. That being said, there’s no doubt that when there’s a party to be planned, Cajuns are the people you want at the helm!” explains Ray Trahan, President of Louisiane-Acadie, Inc.

Although the details of the day’s events and registration have yet to be finalized, Louisiane-Acadie wanted to announce the news now in order to give participants a chance to plan their trip to the Acadian Peninsula where numerous traditional and less conventional accommodation options are still available. As 1755 band member Roland Gauvin explains, one detail was quickly confirmed. “Since we are performing that night in Tracadie-Sheila, we are happy to offer a 5$ discount on our ticket price to everyone attending the reunion. These families are important branches of our Acadian family tree and we are happy that they will be joining us during our summer tour.”

Stay tuned for further details but in the meantime, mark August 21st on your calendar.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Acadian Flag @ 125

This year is the 125th anniversary of the adoption of the Acadian Flag in Miscouche, PEI. A celebration was held in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, NB, home of Msgr. Marcel-François Richard, who proposed the flag. The story behind the flag.

Chez Yankois

How did I miss the debut of the new Chez Yankois site? Take a look.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Protesting Lack of French Signs in Biggest Acadian City

Dieppe, NB, is the largest Acadian city--and yet no city ordinance requires bilingual signs. Some petitioners are trying to change that.

Michel Belliveau, vice-president of the Fédération d'alphabétisation du Nouveau-Brunswick, a literacy organization, said he finds it frustrating that 80 per cent of Dieppe residents are francophones but only about 50 per cent of the signs in the city are bilingual.

Dieppe Mayor Jean LeBlanc said he understands the concerns but when the petition first came in front of council, councillors said they were in no rush to adopt a sign bylaw. LeBlanc said they want to study how similar bylaws were received in other towns.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Acadian Memorial Festival

The Acadian Memorial festival will be this Saturday in St. Martinville. Yvon Cyr will be speaking about genealogy. Article.

Monday, March 16, 2009

CMA 2014

Louisiana would like to host CMA again in 2014; but Madawaska wants it, too. I've heard some would like to see it in France. Well, we'll know in August.

Seal Hunt Protests

It's that time of year when activist groups around the world protest Canadian seal hunting (here, here, and here).

Few articles mention the fishermen who argue their livelihood depends upon it: Acadians of the Magdalene Islands.

National Geographic does.

Car license plates in Quebec—which includes the Magdalen Islands, or Îles de la Madeleine—bear the legend, Je me souviens, meaning "I remember." The Madelinots, as the 95 percent of islanders who are French-speaking call themselves, do not easily let go of their 250 years of history and traditions. They remember the dark days following 1755 when, fleeing deportation by the British, the islands' founding families made their way from what is now Nova Scotia to start a new life. Though farming folk, these exiled Acadians were forced to turn to the sea for sustenance. Today the fishing industry makes up 80 percent of the islands' economy. A thousand of the 13,000 islanders fish for a living, and a similar number process the catches of lobster, crab, herring, and mackerel.

Madelinot fishermen also remember the two decades of tribulation that began in the 1960s when antihunt campaigners, spearheaded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and later by Greenpeace, triggered the eventual collapse of the seal trade. Portrayed as murderers and barbarians, fishermen suffered the contempt of the masses as television brought graphic scenes from the ice fields of the North Atlantic into the living rooms of Europe and North America.

Taking part in what had been known as the greatest hunt in the world—an enterprise that in the 19th century had involved more than 13,000 men and 400 sailing ships—was no longer a matter of pride but a mark of shame. Once hailed as "Vikings of the ice," the sealers were now the scum of the earth. The Madelinots' cries of Nous ne sommes pas des bouchers! — We are not butchers! — sounded hollow when accompanied by photographs of upraised clubs and bloodstained ice.

PETA says the seal hunt is "
nothing more than a money-making scheme orchestrated by professional fishers." Well, of course! Use PETA's letter-writing form to let Canada know about the need to protect the unique culture of the Magdalene Islands.

Ste-Famille Cemetery

Lucie posts a talk by John Wilson given at the cemetery's dedication.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

CMA Bus Tour

CAFA and the Acadian Memorial will be sponsoring a bus trip from Louisiana to the Congres Mondial Acadien. Informational meeting March 16.

Acadian Memorial Festival

Next weekend, March 20 & 21, the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville will have its annual festival.

C'est la vie!

I originally started this blog to cover the 2004 Congrès Mondial Acadien. It's 2009, and I haven't posted for a year--too busy on my other blogs.

But it's time to reinvigorate this blog, as the next Congrès Mondial Acadien will take place this summer on New Brunswick's Acadian Peninsula. I attended the 1999 and 2004 gatherings, and hope to make it this year.