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I am a professional crafts person, working in clay and fibre, not necessarily at the same time. I am a juried member of the New Brunswick Crafts Council, The Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council and the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Words fail me.

Bear with me, I am having a moment. I am definately going to get a bit wierd on ya for a while. Forgive me, my next blog will most definately be about knitting.
As you may know, I have been artist in residence for the Fredericton Arts Alliance, at the casemates ( Historic Garrison District, former British soldiers barracks) in Fredericton, for the past week and a bit. I began My residency on August 27.
My first day in residence a lovely gentleman and his wife visited. He asked me
"Who were the first people to settle Canada, and where did they settle?" My response to him was along the lines of, are we including the natives, or do want to know about the outsiders? he chuckled and said
"the outsiders"
Always the purest, I returned with ,
"Well that's debateable. It certainly depends on who you talk to, and when you ask"
(Little did he know he snagged the chief curator of the museum, and freeky little historian chick, knitting in a casemate)
You see the little known fact to the outside world, is that the Vikings were in Newfoundland and established a settlement, long before Columbus even thought about America, and it is strongly assumed that there were outsiders in the north of Canada prior to the Vikings.
This kind of surprised the gentleman, and he clued me in on the real question on his mind.
He wanted to know about the Acadians, and the expulsion. Touchy subject, and one I am never sure how to approach. It has been at the centre of many of my anxious moments for the past three years. My Heart rate raised, and I began to worry about my wording. I know both sides of the story. I am aware of the cold dry facts as presented by both sides of the story. I have co -curated exhibits based on this involving the froncophone, and anglophone communities, and I am constantly on edge about it. It is not a proud moment in our history. But it happened.
I found my tour guide/politician stance somewhere, deep inside. I spoke of the two factions, the expulsion, and the results and repercussions to the people of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I told him of the places that the Acadian people ended up. I told him about being here now. and I said I often wonder about the people who left and what they felt, and how they survived. Making a new life for the second time in a foriegn land.
It was then that the kind gentleman told me that he was a descendant of Les Acadiennes. Exploring the land his forefathers had called home after leaving France. He was looking for the other side of the stories he was raised on. Curious about the Geography of Acadia, and the french who are still here.
I feel honestly I may have dissappointed him with my neutrality. He and his quiet and lovely wife touched me. I appreciated their interest, and their quest. I have had them and the Acadians on my mind for several days. I truly wonder where the gentleman and his wife are. Are they ok? Were they here when Katrina hit? Were they in back home in New Orleans?
I hope to God they were still here in Acadia, looking for their roots.
So much of our history in this region is tied with the history of Louisiana. Our Acadienne, are their Cajun. Divided by oaths, words only, blood is thicker than water. They are brothers, and sisters. I have been watching the footage at he gym, while working out.
I am horrified.
I cannot fathom the complete devastation. I cannot even properly articulate my feelings to my best friend. My thoughts are chaos. I am looking for and not finding the humanity in the US Federal Government.
I am frightened for the people and hope that they will make it through this devastating crisis.
I do not personally have money to donate to the cause, but I am going to give blood. I encourage all who can, to do likewise. If you cannot, then give school supplies, or money to the schools who are taking in the children of this tragedy. Give your time at a shelter, or a food bank. Reach out to the people who have lost everything and everyone important. Show a stranger you care that they live.

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