In 1880, the Société Saint Jean Baptiste of Quebec
invited the Acadians to their congress. Dozens of Acadians attended and
decided to organize their own Acadian Convention the following year.
Over the next 100 years, a number of gatherings were held. Generally,
the topics were the same.
First Acadian Convention: 1881
- Memramcook, NB
Held on July 20-21 at St. Joseph's
College, the initial convention was attended by over 5000 Acadians, though
only a few hundred actually participated in the discussions.. A number
of topics, including emigration, acadianization of the Church, journalism,
education, colonization, agriculture, industry, trade, and politics.
One of the first topics was the selection of an Acadian holiday.
Though some suggested St. Jean Baptiste day (June 24) which was already
a holiday for the Quebécois. But the Acadians wanted their
own distinct day. Led by Father Marcel-Francois Richard, they selected
the day of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary ... August 15.
The Société Nationale l'Assomption was established as a quasi-governmental
body for the Acadians.
Second Acadian Convention: 1884
- Miscouche, PEI
A second meeting took place
on August 15, 1884 at Miscouche, PEI. The topics covered three years
earlier were again discussed. The main order of business was to select
the national Acadian symbols. This convention chose an Acadian
flag, an Acadian Hymn, and an Acadian
For the flag, they chose the blue-white-red
French flag with a gold star in the upper left corner. Father Richard
had brought a flag already made to the convention.
For the hymn, the choice wasn't as
easy. A couple of early ideas were Un Acadien errant and the Marseillaise.
During the discussion, Father Richard began to sing Ave Maris Stella, and
the whole convention joined in. When Father Richard then called for
someone to create an anthem, Pascal Poirier suggested that they choose
Ave Maris Stella. The convention agreed.
The convention also selected an Acadian
emblem that was supposed to be worn on the lapel on holidays. It
consisted of a blue silk embossed with a radiating star. Above the
star was a ship in full sail with the word "Acadie" written on its flag.
The motto, "L'union fait la force" (Strength through Union) was placed
at the bottom. The emblem is on a background of a rosette of white
and red ribbons.
Third Acadian Convention: 1890
- Pointe de l'Église, NS
The major topic of the third convention
is on the language used at Sainte Anne college, Acadian convents, and schools
of Nova Scotia. They say that French should be the language used
in classes, but English should also be used.
Fourth Acadian Convention:
1900 - Arichat
The appointment of an Acadian bishop
and other church matters was a major topic for the convention. The
Acadian newspapers are also encouraged to work together for the Acadian
people. The prime minister of Canada, Wilfred Laurier, attended this
Fifth Acadian Convention: 1905
- Caraquet, NB
"Strength through Union"
Discussions over the appointment of an acadian bishop
were still a hot topic. A recommendation is made for the government
to better support Acadian farmers. Acadians are encouraged to become more
involved in industry and trade. A French text was adopted for the
Acadian schools. It was also recommended that French be taught in
the teacher training schools of the Maritimes.
Sixth Acadian Convention: 1908
"Strength through Union"
This convention decided to send a petition to the Pope
asking him to send them an Acadian bishop. Also, recommendations
were made to the Acadian newspapers. For example, they were advised
to print fewer articles from foreign newspapers. Acadian writers
were encourage to work together.
Seventh Acadian Convention:
1913 - Tignish, PEI
"Congress of Thanksgiving"
This convention was almost like a festival. The
Acadians were celebrating the nomination of an Acadian bishop in 1912.
A committee was also set up to look into "repatriating" the exiled Acadians
and restoring them to Acadian soil.
Eighth Acadian Convention:
1921 - Point de l'Église and Grand Pre, NS
"The Congress of Remembrance"
This convention was based in Point de l'Eglise.
A journey was made to Grand Pre, where the SNA had
aquired land and planned an Acadian memorial. A
plea was made that the recorded histories should make
the necessary corrections relative to the history of
the Acadians. Acadians were also encourage to subscribe
to an Acadian newspaper.
Ninth Acadian Convention: 1927
- Moncton, NB
Recommendations are made to increase
the representation of Acadians in the New Brunswick government.
Acadians were encouraged to work together to buy and
sell goods. Using the French language in
communications in business and government was emphasized.
Recommended that a commission meet once
a year to study Acadian matters.
Tenth Acadian Convention: 1937
- Memramcook, NB
"The Congress of Recognition "
The two major points of discussion were school rights
and colonization, though other topics (such as agriculture and Acadian
history) were covered. Resolutions were passed on dealing with the
Acadian press and the fishing industry.
Eleventh Acadian Convention:
Festivals of 1955
In 1955, after almost 20 years of
inactivity, the Société Nationale l'Assomption organized
a committee to organize events to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the
Grande Derangement. The Festivals of 1955 was a larger event, with activities
taking place in a number of Acadian locales. Though it didn't take the
form of previous gatherings, it is still regarded as the eleventh convention.
Twelfth Acadian Convention: 1957
- Memramcook, NB
The gathering resumed the traditional
planning for the future. A new constitution was adopted for the Société
National l'Assomption. There were a number of changes, including
a name change (to La Société Nationale des Acadiens), creating
a Board of Directors, and the formation of a permanent secretary.
Thirteenth Acadian Convention:
1960 - Point de l'Église, NS
"The Acadians of 1960"
This convention looked at the present needs of Acadians
and their future prospects. The meetings were organized by four commissions.
One was designed to review the effectiveness of the La Société
Nationale des Acadiens since the reorganization. One commission looked
into how the Acadians could improve their economy. Another had the
job of defining Acadian patriotism. A fourth commission looked into
the propagation of the Acadian culture.
Fourteenth Acadian Conventions:
1965 - Caraquet, NB
"Our forces face the future with
The emphasis at this convention is on the future.
The current situation of the Acadians was studied and information was collected
on how to meet the needs of the culture in upcoming years.
Fifteenth Acadian Conventions:
1972 - Fredericton, NB
"Congress of the French people
of New Brunswick "
Over a thousand New Brunswick Acadians were in attendance
to vote for 264 resolutions on a variety of topics ... such as bilingualism,
economics, education, politics, and culture.The La Société
Nationale des Acadienswas again selected as the spokesman for the interests
of the Maritime Acadians.
Sixteenth Acadian Convention:
1979 - Edmundston, NB