Governor General sets record straight in convocation speech
MONCTON - Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean acknowledged the founding of Acadie in 1604 and drove home the significance of where "the great French adventure in America really began" to boisterous applause Saturday at l'Université de Moncton.
Jean received an honorary degree from the university at a spring convocation ceremony in Moncton, where the Queen's representative used her convocation speech to seemingly set the record straight with the Acadian people.
In several speeches marking the 400th anniversary of the establishment of Quebec City last year, Jean angered Acadians by saying Samuel de Champlain's founding of Quebec's capital was the beginning of the French presence in North America, circa 1608.
Acadian historians say it is a fact the French colonization began four years before on St. Croix Island - a small island near St. Stephen in the Bay of Fundy where Pierre Du Gua de Monts and Champlain established a permanent settlement.
In front of a graduating class of 475 Université de Moncton students and thousands of predominantly Acadian family members, Jean spoke at length about Acadie.
"In this concert of voices and accents, born of the same language, the vitality of the Acadian culture is one of the richest in Canada," she said to applause. "In fact, Acadia is a brilliant success story and has been since those who built this country set out to establish themselves on American soil."
Delivering a history lesson herself, Jean spoke of how Verrazzano, an Italian explorer in the service of the King of France, came to New Brunswick shores in 1524 and named the region that extended the length of the Atlantic coast as "Arcadia."
"In ancient Greece, Arcadia was a plateau in the Peloponnesus that was considered paradise on earth," Jean said.
She then addressed the landing of Champlain directly.
"Although a number of Europeans came to the region - most notably Jacques Cartier in 1534 - it was not until 1604 that French colonists came to live here under the leadership of Pierre Du Gua de Monts and Samuel de Champlain," Jean said. "De Monts decided to establish the colonies on St. Croix Island, and so it was on this small island that the great French adventure in America really began.
"Today, more than 400 years after De Monts and Champlain landed on St. Croix Island, we have every reason to celebrate."See complete article: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/677474
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