Keywords: French Americans
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.
Grade Level: 9-12
Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce students to the history of the forced expulsion of thousands of people from Acadia, the Romantic look back at the tragedy in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous epic poem Evangeline and the heroine's adoption as an Acadian cultural figure, and Maine's Acadian community today, along with their relations with Acadian New Brunswick and Nova Scotia residents and others in the Acadian Diaspora. Students will read and discuss primary documents, compare and contrast Le Grand Dérangement to other forced expulsions in Maine history and discuss the significance of cultural survival amidst hardships brought on by treaties, wars, and legislation.
Grade Level: 6-8
Content Area: Social Studies
Other materials needed: - Copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Evangeline" - Print media and Internet access for research - Deportation Orders (may use primary document with a secondary source interpretation) Throughout the course of history there have been many events in which great suffering was inflicted upon innocent people. The story of the Acadian expulsion is one such event. Britain and France, the two most powerful nations of Europe, were at war off and on throughout the 18th century. North America became a coveted prize for both warring nations. The French Acadians of present day Nova Scotia fell victim to great suffering. Even under an oath of allegiance to England, the Acadians were advised that their families were to be deported and their lands confiscated by the English. This event was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "Evangeline", which was published in 1847.