The notion of Acadian ethnic and cultural identity has long been a topic of intense discussion among academic and elite circles. Without a formal territory, this mainly French-speaking cultural minority form a global diaspora, concentrated in Eastern North America. This presentation focuses on the delicate situation of the Franco-Americans of Northern Maine. Despite belonging to the Acadian diaspora, the Canada-US political border that is the Upper St John River Valley has culturally and linguistically marginalized this community from the Acadian hegemonic center that is the Province of New Brunswick, their neighbor across the Edmunston-Madawaska International Bridge. Here, excerpts from oral testimonies collected in northern Maine in 2018 will help shed light on the needs of Maine Franco-Americans to maintain and promote their Acadian heritage.
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Western Washington University
Dr. Keppie's academic interests lie in ethnographic research on identity discourse among Francophone minorities in Canada. Currently in her 10th year at WWU, Dr. Keppie teaches a wide range of French courses such as language, phonetics, culture, sociolinguistics, and composition. She grew up in New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province where she experienced first hand the difficulties faced by Acadians in validating their cultural worth. Using these experiences as inspiration, she completed her PhD at the University of Alberta in 2008 where she focused on the identity of New Brunswick Francophones as seen through the identity of participants of both genders, of different age groups and different regions. Dr. Keppie is the Editor of the American Review of Canadian Studies, a peer-reviewed quarterly journal.