On May 8, 2001 in Montreal, Attorney Warren Perrin of Lafayette, Louisiana
read a petition requesting an apology from the "Brittish Government
and Crown" for the deportation of the Acadians. Perrin believed up
until recently that Governor Charles Lawrence of Nova Scotia was responsible
for the deportation. Professor Roger Paradis of the University of Maine at
For Kent has done research that has changed the thinking and shifted the
blame for the deportation.
First - The Winslow Journal informs Acadians on September 5, 1755 that
deportation is the Kings final resolution.
General Edward Braddock's personal papers stated that plans were in progress
to enslave the Acadians..this statement was made almost a year before the deportation
A letter from England to Lawrence told him to plan the deportation very carefully
and the only alternative was deportation to the other thirteen British-American
Colonies because sending Acadians to Canada would only reinforce the enemy.
The idea was to settle them in small groups in the 13 colonies so that they would
disappear as a people.."genocide".
Paradis would like to see a scholarship fund created for the Acadian Youth to
attend a French University of their choice anywhere in the world.
Mock trial highlights attempt at British apology to Acadians
By DAVE FRANCIS
Special to The Advocate
LAFAYETTE -- Acadians throughout the world won a major victory Friday when a Circuit Court
of Appeal ordered that a class-action suit would proceed to trial -- allowing for a possible
formal apology to be obtained from the British for the great deportation of 1755.
And while the appeal court and the hearing were only a mock trial, even that was enough
for a moral victory for the approximately 400 Acadian descendants who packed the Federal
Courthouse in Lafayette.
The spectators stood and applauded as Honorary Judge Allen M. Babineaux dismissed efforts
by the attorneys representing the British Crown, who had been "appealing" a lower court
decision.Staged in French as part of the ongoing Congrès Mondial Acadien, or World Acadian
Congress,which will wrap up Sunday, the mock trial was based on the premise that District Court Judge
Joseph "Beausoleil" Broussard had previously ruled in favor of the Acadians, denying the British
motions for dismissal. It was that decision that the British had sought to appeal.
The entire performance -- in which judges and lawyers from the area participated -- was
based on Lafayette lawyer Warren Perrin's efforts to obtain an apology from the British, who
in 1755 ordered the deportation of more than 6,000 Acadians residing in the areas now known
as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. The British ordered that deportation out of fear
that the neutral Acadians would turn against the British in an ongoing struggle with France
for possession of the lands. Torn from their homes, their families separated and their lands
seized, many of the Acadians wound up in Louisiana where their descendants have since built a
new life for themselves. Many died of the hardships they faced attempting to reach a new place
to live. Others died after being herded onto ships bound for Britain.
For centuries the Acadian descendants have lived a life of struggle and sadness after being
thrown from the lands they had settled. They had arrived in Acadia -- the new land -- after
fleeing religious wars in their French homeland. But even after 250 years, the British have
failed to acknowledge that what they did to the Acadians was wrong -- and to apologize for those
actions. Perrin's petition to the British government and the queen, filed in 1990, have received
no formal response.
Perrin and three other area lawyers represented the Acadians in Friday's hearing:
Brian Comeaux, a Lafayette lawyer who is also executive director of the Congrès; John
Hernandez Jr., a lawyer from Carencro; and John Hernandez III, also a Carencro lawyer.
Representing the British Crown Friday were Jean Ouellet, a partner in Perrin's law firm;
and David Marcantel, who serves along with Perrin on the board of directors of the Council
for the Development of French in Louisiana.
In Friday's hearing, the British Crown argued the case should not proceed, based on four
points: that the Acadians could not substantiate their claims of wrongful actions by the
British; that too much time has elapsed since the incidents in question; that the lower court
judge was biased because he, himself, is of Acadian heritage; and that the Lafayette court has
no jurisdiction to hear the case.
The honorary appeal board ruled against all four of those motions.
Instead it decided that the lower court judge was a fair and honest man whose bias, if there
was one, would not interfere in his ruling; that a court in Lafayette was a proper venue for
the case, given that the majority of the world's Acadian descendants now reside in Louisiana;
that the passage of time cannot negate the actions that occurred in 1755; and that the case
certainly has enough merit to be heard.
"There are a lot of facts to be told, a lot of arguments to be aired," Honorary Judge
Babineaux said in ordering that the trial proceed at a later date.
Friday's mock trial was obviously a highlight of Perrin's efforts to obtain an apology
from the British. He has long argued that the deportation order has never been rescinded,
and the actions of the British in 1755 amounted to an effort at ethnic cleansing.
Prior to Friday's hearing, Perrin said his efforts, and the efforts of all Acadians to
reclaim their heritage and their pride, are efforts that will never end.
"I view the problem now ... although I didn't see it at the time I started ... as one of
the clearest examples of ethnic cleansing and also one of the easiest examples to
rectify," he said.
"It is as though we are trying to claim back our good name."
October 29, 2001
Redcoats shot Acadians in 1755 expulsion: letter
The Daily News
HALIFAX - A 1755 letter recently acquired by the University of Louisiana
provides rare evidence that British soldiers shot people during the Acadian
expulsion from Grand Pré, N.S. The letter, by British Major-General John Winslow,
describes how soldiers rounded up 1,510 inhabitants by force and put them on ships.
"Have had no uncommon disturbance," Maj.-Gen. Winslow wrote to a friend described only
as a doctor. Some of the young men in the settlement, however, tried to get away, he said.
"Kil'd one & I believe one other as he has not been heard of and the rest return. I yesterday
began to burn the out posts & march this afternoon to proceed on that business. I expect to
see the battalion soon united at Halifax."The one-page handwritten report was placed on display
behind glass this week at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Edith Garland Dupre Library.
"The Acadian deportation is now seen internationally as one of the classic early episodes of ethnic
cleansing," said Carl Brasseaux, a history professor at the university whose family was deported
from Grand Pré 10 generations ago.While Mr. Brasseaux knew that as many as half the deportees
died from disease, malnutrition and exposure, he said he was never sure Acadians were shot at
Grand Pré until he read the Winslow letter. "This is one of the clearest indications that lethal
force was employed," he said. The shootings were "very uncommon and would have been done only
in the face of Acadian resistance," said Barry Moody, a history professor at Acadia University
in Wolfville, N.S. It is believed about 11,000 Acadians were deported from what is now the
Maritimes between 1755 and 1758. Another 3,000 are believed to have hidden in the forests of
Atlantic Canada and Quebec. Others sailed south to Louisiana where, over the centuries, they lost
their language and much of their culture, metamorphosing into today's Cajuns -- a word derived
from 'Acadian.'"There's been a cultural renaissance here over the last 30 years, and with that
has come a heightened interest in the arrival of the groups," Mr. Brasseaux said. "Before that,
the story was almost entirely ignored." The Louisiana university, which has a student body made
up of about 40% Acadians by ancestry, paid a book dealer less than US$5,000 for the letter. It
came from a private collector in New England. "The document is historically significant to our
region," said Charlie Triche, director of the Dupre Library. "So it wouldn't have mattered if it would
have cost $20 or $25,000. We still would have got it."
The letter reads:
"Dear Doctor: These acquaint you that the camp in general is well. We have ship of here 1510
of the inhabitants. We had the whole collected and for want of transport have left 600 people.
Have had no uncommon disturbance. The young fellows look in on their head, to desert our party.
Kil'd one & I believe one other as he has not been heard of and the rest return. I yesterday
began to burn the out posts & march this afternoon to proceed on that business. I expect to see
the battallion [sic] soon united at Halifax. I refer you to Capt. Gorham for news. Am yours, etc.