Michigan’s French Canadian Heritage Week 2014 has come and gone, and thoughts are already turning to next year. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I want to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the organizing committee to the many people who took part in this year’s celebration.
This year we built on the first French Canadian Heritage Day in 2013. We focused our efforts on promoting the events to more people as more organizations and individuals became involved. We also reinforced the idea that French Canadian culture in Michigan, and throughout the Great Lakes, is both a living culture and a link to the storied era of exploration, the fur trade, and the building of new cultures in North America.
French Canadian Heritage Week 2014 was made official through Michigan House Resolution 0392 and Michigan Senate Resolution 0192. A special thank you to Representatives Bill LaVoy and Andrea LaFontaine, and Senator Jim Marleau for sponsoring the resolutions that made the heritage week a part of the state legislative agenda for the second year in a row and for sponsoring activities in the Capitol with guests from the Quebec Government Office in Chicago.
We would also like express our sincere appreciation to the following people for planning events around the state: David Bezotte (along with the Finnish American Heritage Center and the Chassell Heritage Center), Daniel Truckey of the Beaumier Heritage Center (along with Northern Michigan University, The Peter White Public Library, and The City of Marquette), Mary Beth Powers of Fort de Buade, Andy Clark and Lynn Reaume of the Monroe County Historical Museums, Suzanne Sommerville and Diane Sheppard of The French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, The Detroit Historical Museum, and Eric Marquis and Kerith Iverson of the Quebec Government Office of Chicago. If there are others I am not aware of, please make sure I hear about it!
A special mention of thanks to Régis Labeaume, the Mayor of the City of Quebec, for reaching out to our community with a letter of félicitations on our heritage week.
Thank you to also to the many performers, speakers, cooks, and staff members whose roles behind the scenes and on stage (or at the podium), enlivened the day for so many people. This year, the Alliance Française Minneapolis and the French-American Heritage Foundation of Minnesota also sponsored events indicating an expanding awareness of this idea. There were voices in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri that also expressed a desire for such events in their states.
The French-Canadian Cultural Alliance of the Great Lakes is a State of Michigan non-profit. We look forward to promoting our French-Canadian and French Metis cultures in other ways in the future. I owe my personal thanks to the committee members who have helped to promote our heritage day and have worked to ensure that we will continue to grow and provide a living cultural voice for those who share our heritage in the Great Lakes.
To join our social media network, see Great Lakes French Canadians and follow our community journal Voyageur Heritage. To get involved in other ways, take part in conversations with other French Canadians online or contact me through email (FCCAGL@hotmail.com). -James LaForest, Editor and President (FCCAGL)