How P.E.I. students can now learn more about Acadian culture and history

·2 min read
Linda Lowther, left, and Georges Arsenault show off the book they co-authored about Acadians on Prince Edward Island.  (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)
Linda Lowther, left, and Georges Arsenault show off the book they co-authored about Acadians on Prince Edward Island. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)

Island authors Linda Lowther and Georges Arsenault are celebrating the launch of their book showcasing 300 years of Acadian history, which has become part of Prince Edward Island's French school curriculum.

L'Acadie de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard: 300 ans d'histoire uses maps, manuscripts, artifacts and photos to illustrate Acadian events and achievements on P.E.I. from 1720 to 2020. It'll be part of elementary and secondary school lessons for French and French Immersion students.

"After being in the education system for 32 years, to see finally a resource that can be used in the schools to talk about our Acadian population and their contribution to P.E.I. is fantastic," Lowther said.

Arsenault says until now, Acadian history taught in schools was limited and lacked depth.

"When I was going to school, there was a book on the history of P.E.I. in English only, and the history of the Acadians ended with the deportation, as if no more Acadians were on the Island," Arsenault said.

"This one really puts the limelight on the Acadians of Prince Edward Island and their contribution to the province and to the country."

'Creating a little bit of pride'

Acadian culture was not celebrated when he was in school on P.E.I., Arsenault said.

"It's something that we didn't boast, we didn't talk about all that much. There was a time you thought you were second-class ... something that was not done 50 years ago when I was a student," Arsenault said.

"You can't build your future if you don't know about your past," Lowther added. "It's about creating a little bit of pride and confidence in who you are and what you can bring to the table ... saying 'I can contribute because my ancestors contributed and I didn't know that.' "

The authors hope someday the book will be translated into English so anglophone students can learn from it as well. Officials with P.E.I.'s Department of Education say that's under consideration.

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