Keywords: French American
French Canadians who emigrated to the Lewiston-Auburn area faced discrimination as children and adults -- such as living in "Little Canada" tenements and being ridiculed for speaking French -- but also adapted to their new lives and sustained many cultural traditions.
In the early 1600s, French explorers and colonizers in the New World quickly adopted a Native American mode of transportation to get around during the harsh winter months: the snowshoe. Most Northern societies had some form of snowshoe, but the Native Americans turned it into a highly functional item. French settlers named snowshoes "raquettes" because they resembled the tennis racket then in use.
St-Jean-Baptiste Day -- June 24th -- in Lewiston-Auburn was a very public display of ethnic pride for nearly a century. Since about 1830, French Canadians had used St. John the Baptist's birthdate as a demonstration of French-Canadian nationalism.