UMFK librarian is keeping Acadian history alive

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 11:23 AM EDT
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Frenchville, Maine (WAGM) - We’ve all seen the blue white and red flags with the golden star—Acadian culture is ingrained in the County. But the Acadian Archives at UMFK are working to make the history of Acadia accessible to all.

“I can start with this story of how our ancestors came to this area,” Lise Pelletier said to teh 2nd grade class at Dr Levesque Elementary.

Acadian culture and roots are alive in St John Valley, but Pelletier, director of the Acadian Archives said their history is not present in many curriculums.

“It’s not necessarily something that’s taught in the schools in Maine or in Aroostook County, and we know that the St John Valley has a high percentage of Acadians or French Canadians.”

Now that COVID restrictions have loosened, Pelletier is excited to bring her knowledge to students. Using the Acadian Treasure Chest, a collection of educational resources for all ages, she taught the second-grade class about Acadian history, reading a book about Acadian culture, having them color in Acadian flags, and finally ending in a tintamarre.

“The parade is called tintamarre which means joyous noise making.”

The children led the parade around their school yard, banging spoons together, using drums, and shouting while waving their flags in the air.

“It’s really important for kids to get a grasp of their identity through their grandparents and the history that their ancestors went through,” said Pelletier.

August 15 is National Acadian Day, when Madawaska traditionally holds a tintamarre. Last year the celebration was canceled, but Pelletier says plans are in the making for a street party this summer, and in the meantime, she hopes educators will take advantage of the Acadian Treasure Chest’s free resources to keep Acadian culture alive.

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