From the community

Acadian Archives acadiennes to host documentary film and workshop

Posted Jan. 17, 2014, at 10:59 a.m.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Acadian Archives acadiennes will host a free public showing of the documentary “Waking Up French: Réveil” on Thursday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fox Auditorium.

The film is the epic story of New England’s largest minority, why they came, and what happened to them. With 30 or 40% of Maine’s population French-American, it’s estimated that today, in New England, there are more than 2,000,000 descendants of the one million who came from Québec and New Brunswick at the turn of the 20th Century. The documentary has dramatic footage of the Ku Klux Klan in Maine and evidence of a campaign aimed at assimilating the French Catholics.

Educators once regarded heritage language retention and bilingualism as a detriment. Research sociologist Sandra Kouritzin shows that loss of a heritage language at any age means disconnecting from a deep part of yourself that cannot be translated into another language.

On Friday, January 31, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ben Levin and Julia Schulz will conduct a free workshop in Cyr Hall’s Grindle Room, demonstrating how communities use their reclaimed heritage language for economic, social, and sustainable development. This is an opportunity for teachers, educational technicians, cultural and tourism agents, economic development organizations, town and school officials, business owners, health related workers to witness the importance of a second language, especially when you consider the St. John Valley’s proximity to French-speaking Québec and New Brunswick.

Please pre-register through the Acadian Archives for the workshop at (207) 834-8631.

Levin and Schulz’s methods for language learning are internationally known. Now being applied in Mexico as well as Europe, these methods are becoming a model for language and cultural survival resources that build bridges between young and old and create new roles for community institutions to collaborate in adapting traditions to changing times.

Come with ideas of your favorite aspects of French language and culture to be passed on to our children and to future generations. It will create a new way to motivate individuals and whole communities to regain their French language.

If you would like more information on the showing and/or the free workshop, please contact the Archives at (207) 834-7535.

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