Recently Mayor Joey Durel of Lafayette, Louisiana and Mayor George LeBlanc of Moncton, New Brunswick, led by Mayor Régis Labeaume of Quebec, launched an initiative to link Francophone (French-speaking) and Francophile (those who seek to honor and respect French-Canadian and Acadian heritage) communities around North America: The North American Francophone and Francophile Cities Network/Réseau nord-américain de villes francophones et francophiles.
According to their brochures the mission of the network “will be to draw its members” and the world’s attention to those cities that are historically, culturally, and linguistically connected to the French fact in North America: “We seek with this initiative to support the vitality of today’s francophone and francophile communities while preserving our common heritage for future generations.” (Click here for the Brochure – French Cities Network – English or Brochure – Réseau villes francos – Français)
This initiative is an excellent opportunity for communities around the Great Lakes, large and small, to engage with other communities in North America whose histories and cultures are historically linked to their own. In the Great Lakes region, communities from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Alpena, Michigan, from L’erable, Illinois to Little Canada, Minnesota, not to mention Detroit, Duluth, and Chicago, have common roots in the French-Canadian exploration, fur trade, missions, and settlements beginning in the 17th century with immigration from Quebec continuing into the 20th and 21st centuries.
The mayors of Quebec, Moncton, and Lafayette recognize the great opportunity that this common history offers today. Through mutual support, they hope that communities in this network will benefit from economic development, cultural vitality, and the preservation of heritage.
As a French-Canadian heritage organization, the FCCAGL supports this effort and encourages community leaders and activists around the Great Lakes to bring this initiative to the attention of local municipal leaders. This is an opportunity to build on the rich legacy of our ancestors and to build a future where our traditions and history remain a part of the cultural landscape of North America.
Contact the office of the Mayor of Quebec for more information for your community. Madame France Dionne is mandated with this project and can be contacted at France.Dionne@ville.quebec.qc.ca or firstname.lastname@example.org.