>I had some friends years ago- he was
> Acadien, she was from Montréal, both francophones,
> When they would argue they would begin screaming at
> each other in French...but thier dialects were so
> different neither understood the other. lol. It was
> better for them to argue in English!
I had to laugh at this -- my late wife was of French descent, her
ancester, Daniel Perron came to Canada in the 17th century. He was one of
the infamous ship's captains who James Michener wrote about, bringing
French colonists to "tropical paradises". He brought many of the French
to Canada (in the summer of course, imagine their surprise when winter
Anyway, I have been present when her family sat around talking. This
always took the form of an argument with the volume getting ever louder.
It seemed to me that no one was really listening to what anyone else had
to say but were waiting to make their own points. When any one of them
became tired of waiting they would just shout above everyone else.
Now, I used to be English (now I'm Calgarian). I came here when I was
sixteen. I can remember family gatherings back in London. The loudest
noises at these gatherings was the sound of cups rattling against saucers,
the ever-present sound of the clock, and for variety, once in a while, the
sound of a tap dripping in the kitchen. When my wife first met my parents,
she actually fell asleep in her chair. She was so embarrased by this, and
I had to tell her that I had spent most of my childhood trying to stay
awake at home.
Fortunately, I had an "extended" family here -- friends really, but they
now see me as an adopted son/brother -- I have known them for nearly forty
years and had even lived with them when I was younger in Calgary and
Vancouver. The matriarch of this family is Gerda (Gina) Christoffersen, a
well known Danish-born painter of the Indians and the adopted daughter of
Stoney Chief John Hunter (Sitting Eagle). He can be seen here:
and there is a statue of him in downtown Calgary.
An acquaintance of mine and a good friend of G's daughter, Neesja, is
Francois Paulette who, despite the French name, is a Chipewyan Indian. He
was made the chief of his tribe, not long before I met him and is now the
High Chief of the Dene Nation and one of the most important native leaders
in Canada. What is left out of most of his biographies (which seem to
stress hunting and trapping) is the fact that he worked for an architect's
office in Vancouver before being invited to become the chief of his band.
He did work as a native guide and he told me about another Englishman that
once hired him. This person did not understand that he was hiring a guide,
not a servant, and when Francois finally got fed up with the guy not
helping around camp, he got up early one morning and shot a crow. He
plucked and cooked it and served it to the Englisman for breakfast (of
course, not telling him he was "eating crow" -- Indian revenge!)
There's an article discusing him and his work here:
That's his picture, at the top, taken about the time I first met him.
My favorite quote of his is: "In my language there is no word for
'surrender'. I cannot describe 'surrender' to you in my language, so how
do you expect my people to [have] put their X on 'surrender'?"
I think that these "tribal" connections influenced my interest in the
ancient Celts -- It was certainly not the sound of the tea-cups when I was
John's home page:
Celtic Improvisations (the on line book):
Celtic Coin Index On Line:
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