Teaching Students About Acadian History

Acadian history is an integral part of Canada’s national heritage, with its roots traced back to the 17th century. This culture and heritage is an important part of the country’s history, and it constitutes a significant part of Canadian French-Canadian culture. Hence, it is vital that students be taught about Acadian history and culture, the events that shaped their lives, and their influence on the broader national landscape.

The Acadian people were descendants of French colonialists who occupied the Eastern coast of North America in the 17th century. Acadians established thousands of villages and settlements in what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Newfoundland, forming a distinct cultural, linguistic, and historical legacy. The Acadian population remained relatively peacefully for over a century until the British conquest of Acadia in 1713.

The Acadian people were forced to flee their homeland twice – the Grand Deportation of 1755 and the Expulsion of 1785. During the Grand Deportation, the British forces expelled the Acadian population from their homes, destroyed their property, and sent them packing to Louisiana, the British colonies, and France. Over half of the Acadian population was lost in transit, starvation, and disease over the next decade.

After the Grand Deportation, Acadian identity went into hiding, as the people worked hard to rebuild their communities and their culture in new geographical locations. The Acadian’s strong Catholic heritage and traditions, language, and culture endured, and so to the unique food and entertainment theme, including business such as Acadia Prints.

One important aspect of teaching students about Acadian history is through the use of visual arts and literature, as they give students a glimpse into Acadian life, history, and artistic expressions. Literature and art provide a fascinating window into the past, with works like Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the famous painting of the Acadian girl with the cross before leaving to find a colony are a couple that could be highlighted to students.

Moreover, educators can provide students with field trips to Acadian settlements and museums. They can use these experiences to broaden the students’ knowledge and scope of history and culture beyond the classroom. These field trips can involve students visiting original Acadian settlements, local museums, cultural centres, and other cultural landmarks, which can help develop a firm understanding of the Acadian legacy.

In conclusion, teaching students about Acadian history is critical in developing their comprehension of Canadian history, culture, and heritage. By educating students about this period in history, they can develop a keen appreciation of the unique experiences that shaped the lives of the Acadian people. It offers the opportunity to discover the connection to Canadian culture and how in many ways, it impacts their daily lives. Visual arts and literature, along with field trips, activities, and documentaries, are all ways to bring a student’s understanding of Acadian history to life. By recognizing the unique quality of Acadian history and culture, students can learn more about the complex history and identity of Canada as a whole.

Choose your Reaction!