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Carrier Sisters Making Ployes.jpg

General Introduction

“The Valley (to use the local term for the UpperSt. John River Valley) is an unusual place in a number of respects... First, this is the region where Acadian and French Canadian settlers met and blended. Second, despite the Valley being split between different powers in the 19th century, its residents have done a remarkable job of behaving as if this division did not exist. As a consequence, they have developed a sense of being... different.
(I)t's inhabitants had not been asked their opinion on the matter (of a border) and were therefore disinclined to inconvenience themselves to fit diplomats notions of territoriality... Economically speaking as well, Northern Aroostook County was really part of New Brunswick, not the United States until the construction of the Bangor and Aroostook Railway in the 1890s... At about this time, American and Canadian tariff and immigration policies began to drive a wedge between the two halves of the Valley. In this same period, however, cultural bonds between the two were being strengthened by the ideology of “La Survivance” and possibly of the Acadian Renaissance movement... Thus its people faced many choices and challenges in finding an identity that was operational in a contemporary world.”

(From Beatrice Craig's introduction to “The Land In Between” xix- xxii)


Map of the Provinces of Lower & Upper Canada. Bouchette, Joseph Jun. ; Wyld, James, 1831.p

General area of the "Madawaska Territory". Detail from Map of the Provinces of Lower & Upper Canada. Bouchette, Joseph Jun. ; Wyld, James, 1831

The Madawaska Territory included all the present town on both sides of the River St. John as far north as Lake Temiscouata and westerly to Seven Islands and as far south as the Aroostook River in northern Maine. The New Brunswick counties of Madawaska, York, Restigouche, and Victoria formed part of this territory, an area 150 miles long, 40 to 80 miles wide, or approximately 9,000 square miles. (Roger Paradis)

"Maine Acadians, notably, hold themselves distinct enough that even though there are numerous similarities between them and their Cajun cousins from Louisiana, the Maine Acadians do not think of the two groups as closely related.  Maine Acadians more frequently recognize their cultural kinship with Acadians and Quebecois in Canada... However, they also feel distinctly American. They point to their active long-time participation in the American political and educational systems, along with exemplary military service as evidence of their identification with the United States...

(From Acadian Culture in Maine , North Atlantic Region, National Park Service. pg. 2-3)

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