2001 Volume 74 Issue 2 Pages 117-131
Recently, historical and cultural geographers have considered ethnic homeland to be an important concept, Because the emotional bonding between an ethnic group and a region is emphasized in this concept, ethnic groups must be examined within their regional context. In this paper, the author examines the ethnic persistence of the Acadians, a francophone group in New Brunswick, Canada. Although French settlers started to immigrate to Nova Scotia in the early seventeenth century, they became a minority in the present-day Maritime Provinces of Canada in the middle of the eighteenth century, when Great Britain's hegemony was established. In spite of a tough environment, the Acadians established many institutions, and as a consequence their collective consciousness was developed by the late nineteenth century. In Grande-Digue, one of the Acadian parishes in southeastern New Brunswick, endogamy is still dominant, and the geographical territory for marriage partners is comparatively limited. Although there are many differences among generations, most spouses are selected among the Acadians. As a result, the French language is maintained as their mother tongue in all generations. These facts contribute to the maintenance of ethnic tradition. In addition to this, it is important for the Acadians that the regional economy has revived and that Moncton has developed as a regional city in the Maritime Provinces, because job opportunities have increased and the Acadians do not have to emigrate to other regions. The Acadians maintain their traits and also play an important role in the development of New Brunswick. These factors contribute to the development of Acadian homeland.