Incredibly sad, and hard to believe, that some of America’s current “leaders” are proposing mass deportation and expulsion of entire ethnic populations, based on their perceived threat to our society and/or undesirability in our communities. Even sadder is that a good number of Americans agree with this deplorable tactic. The fact is, that we ALL emigrated from elsewhere in hopes of better lives for our families. Sometimes to escape war, poverty, famine, religious persecution..so many valid reasons to seek the promised refuge of this country. Yet we were also undesirable.
The story of the Acadian “Great Upheaval” (or “Le Grand Dérangement”) is a tremendously tragic story of rejection, exclusion, and mass deportation that’s much too big to describe here, but it played a huge role in the Gallant Family History. Our ancestors were once considered a threat to the British crown and a drain on the Maritime resources that the English coveted. They also feared our association with native “hostiles,” the Mi’kmaq, so we were asked to pledge allegiance to England or face expulsion. Thousands were rounded up and thrown into internment camps, sent away on ships to foreign lands, and in their abandonment, drowned or starved.
Photo credit: wikimapia.org
Here’s an excerpt of how some of my direct ancestors fared:
“The crossing to France devastated these Haché-Gallant families…
Marguerite Haché-Gallant, her second husband Robert Hango dit Choisy, and their three children were lost at sea on the British transport Violet that sank in a mid-Atlantic storm in December. Marguerite’s younger sister Marie-Madeleine, her husband Pierre Duval, and their children, also died on one of the two British transports that foundered in the North Atlantic, either the Violet or the Duke William. Jacques-René, son of Charles Haché dit Gallant, and Jacques’s wife Anne, daughter of Claude Boudrot and Judith Belliveau, lost two of their seven children—Louise, no age given, and N., an infant born at sea–aboard the British transport Supply that left the Gut of Canso in late November 1758 and reached St.-Malo in early March 1759, but the family’s suffering did not end on the high seas: Jacques-René and daughter Anne died at Châteauneuf, near St.-Malo, the following May, probably from the rigors of the crossing; he was only 33 years old; Anne was 6. Pierre le jeune, son of Jean-Baptiste Haché dit Gallant, and Pierre’s wife Marie, daughter of Charles Doiron and Anne Thériot, age 28, lost all four of their children–sons Pierre, age 7, Ambroise, age 3, and Michel, age 6 months, and daughter Marguerite-Louise, age 5–aboard one of the five British transports that left Canso in late November 1758 and reached St.-Malo in late January 1759; Marie survived the crossing only to die in the hospital probably at St.-Malo at the end of January. Marie-Anne, called Anne, Haché, age 26, wife of François, fils, son of François Chiasson and Anne Doucet, lost her husband and all three of their children aboard one of the Five Ships.” ~ Acadians in Gray
Is this the fate of the unfortunate that we’ve grown so accustomed to that we can simply ignore it, or worse, wish it upon our fellow man? This can’t be.
You can read more at these sites:
Also, read the beautiful epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.