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Film looks back on Acadia of the Lands and Forests – time change

JOHN VALLEY, Maine — It has been five years since more than 50,000 visitors descended on northern Maine for the 2014 World Acadian Congress. A fifth-anniversary film showing will help folks reminisce on July 25 and 27.

Maine Public Television will rebroadcast “Acadia Of The Lands And Forests,” narrated by St. John Valley native Jason Parent, will air at 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, and 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 27. 

In 2014, Acadians from around the world gathered in the St. John Valley, as well as Eastern Quebec, for 17 days to remind the world they are still here. It’s a region where many fleeing Acadians settled in 1785.

These descendants of French settlers, who came to North America in the 1640s, were celebrating their history and heritage despite an early form of genocide that forced them from their beloved Acadie in what is now Nova Scotia. 

After nearly 100 years of cultivating some of the most fertile farmland on the continent, the British in New England decided to seize the Acadian lands and livestock and to deport the Acadian families to ports all down the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Georgia in 1755.

The British burned the Acadian homes to the ground, and for added measure, they separated the families — men on some ships, and women and children on others. 

This, the British hoped, would prevent the Acadians from ever finding each other again, and would make it impossible for them to reclaim their farmlands in Acadie. 

“But what the British failed to realize,” said filmmaker Brenda Jepson, “is that a nation without a country can survive. The Acadians have a flag, a national anthem but most importantly, they have not lost their faith, or their French language and they still have each other.”

During the World Acadian Congress in 2014, 200 families held reunions to reconnect and all participants enjoyed many special events that helped to renew interest in Acadian culture and history.

“Throughout 17 straight days of filming, each day brought fascinating events, from a wampum ceremony to the launch of an old-time ferry boat across the St. John River,” said Jepson. “The tough part was editing all this down into one hour.”

A 2-1/2-minute introduction to the film is available at this link: https://vimeo.com/339903520.

 

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