Monday, August 24

The Lookout Tree & the Great Acadian Upheaval

Soldiers rounding up terrified civilians, expelling them from their land, burning their homes and crops...  Do you know the history of how the Acadians are similar to Jews?

In 1524, a French explorer along the Nova Scotian coast found the land so beautiful, so reminiscent of Arcardia in ancient Greece, that he dubbed the area Acadia.  (It is from this word that we get the word ‘cajun.’)  The area quickly became known for its fishing, and was settled by the French at around the same time at the Jamestowne settlement.  In spite of some battles with disease, the settlers of Port Royal lived peacefully, though wary, alongside the local Micmac native tribe.

The powers that be back in France took note of how well the colony was thriving, and they decided to secure trading rights, specifically on fur.  Loans were called in during this power shift, and suddenly colonists found themselves deeply in debt with no way to quickly satisfy the loan.  Assistance was cut off, and the colonists were forced to fend for themselves.  The Micmac natives came to their aide, and they survived.  A few decades later, the British came to take control of this French colony.  They burned houses and fields, and stole cattle and provisions, leaving the Acadians homeless and without food.  Once again, the Micmacs came to the rescue.
For nearly a century, the British and French continued to fight over the land.  Eventually, a treaty was signed granting control to the French.  The Acadians began to thrive once more, with large families supporting economic growth and development.  These families often lived in inter-generational homes, making for a strong sense of family and community.  However, in 1688, war broke out between France and England, and the British swore to capture and deport the Acadians as part of their retaliation.  Due to the war at home, the French did not come to help their colonists.  With little food, and many British camped outside their door, the Acadians began taking food and supplies from the British ships...

This did not make the British happy, and things went from bad to worse.  They offered the Acadians two choices: stay and become loyal British subjects, or leave immediately.  There was backlash and outrage at this decree, from both the Acadians and the Micmacs, and the British became fearful of an indian attack.  They decided to let the colonists stay as a ‘buffer’ against the natives.  It wasn’t long, though, until they once again grew fearful of an attack and began to forcibly remove the colonists and deport them.

Between 1755 and 1763, Acadians from this area were shipped to many points around the Atlantic, including the English colonies, France, and the Caribbean.  Families were split up, with some going to one location while others (including children, alone) were sent to another.  Thousands died of disease , drowning, or starvation in the squalid conditions on board the ships.  Upon their unannounced arrival at these new locations, the current inhabitants were furious – these new people were disease-ridden refugees who would need caretaking for at least some length of time.  Many of the Acadians were rejected, forced to wander the lands searching for their lost loved ones.
Although they were never actually shipped by the British to Louisiana, many Acadians found their way there due to the attraction of the language and culture – we know it as ‘Cajun.’  In the 1770s, they were allowed to return to Canada, settling in places such as Prince Edward Island,, New Brunswick, and Cape Breton.  The Great Upheaval continued into the 1820s.  They still maintain a strong cultural history and set of traditions today.

  • The Lookout Tree
    • It's 1755, and twelve-year-old Fidèle's life is quiet and pastoral—until a sudden shift in the political situation brings chaos to Acadie. The English are hunting down and deporting all the Acadians, and the only way to escape is to run far away or to live in the wilderness. Fidèle's parents are taken by the English along with their newborn baby. He, his sister, Prémélia, their grandfather, Pétard, and elderly Rosalie decide to brave life in the forest near their burned-down house in the hopes that their family members will return one day. Life in the woods is harsh and unforgiving, and they only survive with the help and knowledge of their Mi'kmaw friends and a mysterious spirit who appears during times of dire need. Spanning two decades of the terrible events of the Deportation and the long struggle to reunite and resettle afterward, The Lookout Tree is an English translation of the beloved French classic, La butte à Pétard, and a testament to the determination of the Acadian people to survive and thrive in their homeland.

  • Cajuns and their Acadian Ancestors
  • Diary of Marie Landry
  • Watch
    Younger Children
    Make / Do
    • Use this story board and create your own storyboard for the Acadians.
    • Map the Acadian exiles to where they were deported (there should be several locations on your map).
    Bake a Tourtière
    • Ingredients
      • Crust
        • 2 c unbleached all purpose flour
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 2/3 c butter
        • 7 Tbsp cold water
      • Meat
        • 2 lb ground meat (pork, chicken, beef)
        • 1 onion, chopped
        • 1 clove garlic, minced
        • 2 large potatoes
        • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
        • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
        • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
        • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
        • 1/4 tsp salt
        • 1/8 tsp pepper
        • 1 egg (to glaze)
    • Directions
      • Crust
        • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt, then cut in butter until mixture is a crumbly texture. Add water, and blend until dough comes together.
        • Shape into a rough disc, wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
      • Meat
        • Boil potatoes in a pot of water until tender, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1/2-cup of potato water and drain the rest. Mash the potatoes and set aside.
        • In a large skillet, cook the onion, garlic, and meat beef on medium heat. Drain off fat.
        • Combine the seasonings in a small bowl, and add to the meat mixture in the skillet. Add the reserved potato water, and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
        • Remove the pan from heat, stir in mashed potatoes, and set aside to cool.
        • On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half and flatten one ball of dough with your hands. Roll out dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan.
        • Place the dough into the pie plate, and add the meat filling. Roll out the top crust, and place on top of the filling.
        • Fold the top crust under the bottom crust and pinch the edges. Brush with egg wash, and cut vent holes.
        • Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 400 F, until the pastry is golden brown.
    • Treaty Of Utrecht
    • 1748, Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle
    • Displacement
    • Ethnic Cleansing
    • Salt water marsh farming
    • Acadian
    • Appeal
    • Arbitrator
    • Assimilate
    • Brule Spanish
    • Cabildo
    • Cajun
    • Exile
    • Floating warehouse
    • Foreign French


    Access more world history in the World History Novel Studies Bundle!

    Includes seven unit studies (plus a bonus!) covering World History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning from Pompeii to World War 2.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

    • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
    • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
    • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
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    • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
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    Product samples:   The Night Witches & Women in Aviation   &   The Lookout Tree & the Great Acadian Upheaval

    These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

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