TORONTO – August 15, 2019 – In 1755, more than 150 years after arriving in Nova Scotia, Acadians were told the British Crown was confiscating their land and possessions. The ensuing deportation lasted eight years, as soldiers rounded up terrified civilians, burned their homes and crops, and forcibly removed over 10,000 Acadians from the Maritimes. This National Acadian Day, a new Heritage Minute tells their story of tragedy and resilience.
Descendants of early French settlers, Acadians developed a new culture and set of customs over many generations. They called themselves “Acadians”, to distinguish themselves from newer French settlers and to distance themselves from the French crown. Nevertheless, Acadians were targeted in the escalating tensions between French and British ahead of the Seven Years War. Many were sent to the American colonies and England, while others led resistances and fled to New France.
By 1763, the Acadians could return to their homeland provided they live in small communities and pledge loyalty to the British crown. These communities dot the Maritime landscape today, and Acadian culture and traditions endure.
“The story of the Acadian expulsion is often overlooked in our history,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. “We’re proud to share this with Canadians, and to enhance awareness of their story.”
The “Acadian Deportation” Heritage Minute was filmed in Annapolis Royal, the site of the initial Acadian settlement, and Canning, Nova Scotia, on beaches where the actual deportations occurred. It can be shared and embedded through this link. For more information about the Acadian Deportation, see here. For more information on Acadian culture, see here.
This Heritage Minute was produced by Historica Canada and Fifth Town Films. It was written and directed by Tess Girard (As the Crow Flies), with Acadian filmmaker Phil Comeau as script consultant. Consultants include genealogist Dr. Stephen White and historian Maurice Basque at Université de Moncton, and Véronique Mallet, executive director at La Société nationale de l’Acadie. Renowned Acadian author Antonine Maillet provides the end narration, and Acadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron recorded the vocals in the music.
The Heritage Minutes are made possible through funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. The “Acadian Deportation” Heritage Minute was additionally supported through the Government of Nova Scotia. Technical support for the “Acadian Deportation” Heritage Minute was provided by Dazmo Camera and William F. White International, who provided film equipment for the production.
Historica Canada offers programs that you can use to explore, learn, and reflect on our history, and what it means to be Canadian.
For more information:
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