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Yk Acadians celebrate

Christine Grimard
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Acadians in Yellowknife got the chance to show their colours as the francophone association held Acadian Day celebrations for the first time Aug. 15.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Jonathan Ross, an Acadian from Neguac, N.B., and Marie Colas, an Acadian from Bathurst, N.B., proudly celebrated Acadian Day as the Association franco-culturelle de Yellowknife held festivities for the first time. - Christine Grimard/NNSL photo

"Ours is truly one of Canada's most tragic stories," said Marie Colas, an Acadian from Bathurst, N.B., referring to the Great Expulsion of 1755, when 4,000 to 5,000 Acadians were deported from Acadia by the British. "But we're still here, we're still a group."

Dozens of Acadians and French Canadians gathered last Wednesday at Fred Henne Park for a barbecue and Acadian tunes to celebrate and remember their people's history.

Acadians are descendants of 17th century French colonists who settled in Acadia, now the Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

It was founded in a separate region from Quebec, creating the two distinct cultures.

During the expulsion, many Acadians settled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns.

Jonathan Ross, an Acadian from Neguac, N.B., said Acadians are known for their great love of music, with the sounds of Acadian singer-songwriter Cayouche a staple in the culture.

Roland Charest, the director general of the Association franco-culturelle de Yellowknife, decided to hold Acadian celebrations this year to not only recognize the community of Acadians in Yellowknife, but to give other French Canadians exposure to French cultures outside of Quebec.

"They're all francophones, we're all connected," said Charest. "It just takes a little organization to get people together. We're a big family of francophones in Canada."

Acadian Day in New Brunswick is usually celebrated with a big parade, according to Eric Savoie, another Acadian in town.

"We'd be burning rubber," said Savoie about annual drag races back home, which are entirely supported by local authorities as part of the day's festivities.

"Anything you want, you can drive it on the road."

Another staple for Acadian celebrations lacking in Yellowknife would be a "poutine rappee," a mash potato surrounding a ball of meat, said Acadian Daniel Leclair Jr.

Charest said he's planning on holding Acadian celebrations every year from now on - and they'll likely get bigger with time.