Christmas is just around the corner… To help in your gift-giving this year, Voyageur Heritage offers a few suggestions based on local/regional North American French-Canadian and Métis cultures. In the list below, you will find gift ideas focusing on lesser-known writers, musicians, artists (with a few more well-known entries.) There are also suggestions of “gifts” that will help causes important to preserving and perpetuating the story of French legacy cultures in North America.
Buy local and support local artists and writers, bring music and learning into people’s lives this year! Celebrate Christmas with meaningful gifts and pass on our traditional cultures at the same time. Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël to all! Click on the images to be redirected to more information on the ideas for purchase!
FOOD AND FUN
Cajun Crate is a Louisiana subscription box delivering a Taste of Louisiana wherever you are! They pride themselves on finding the best of the best in Louisiana and helping local businesses gain exposure through their boxes.
For the beer lover – a beer named for one of Detroit’s oldest folkloric figures, stretching back to the French era. From Old Nation Brewing available around Detroit and Michigan, including at 8˚ Plato in Detroit and Ferndale, owned by a member of one of Detroit’s oldest French families.
BOOKS — FICTION
The Allards series by Wilmont Kreis set in Detroit’s historical French community.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx. Franco-American writer Proulx’s first novel in 14 years is “an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the world’s forests. In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a “seigneur,” for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters – barkskins. René suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing… Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years” as they sprawl across the continent and around the world.
The Chandlerville Chronicles by Christopher Chagnon. Northern Michigan writer with French-Canadian roots gives voice to French characters who know a smatttering of ‘joual’ (the common dialect of Canadian French) through the culture of French-Canadians in Northern Michigan.
The Christmas Trees of Pelkie Field: A French-Canadian Winter-Tale and The Fairway — series of short stories by Michael LaForest.
Essex County Trilogy by award-winning author and artist Jeff Lemire. A graphic novel set in Southwestern Ontario near Windsor. Lemire explores life among the rural French Canadian farm villages of SW Ontario through this three-volume work.
Lamothe-Cadillac: sa jeunesse en France (Lamothe-Cadillac: His Early Life in France) by Cajun writer and Northern Michigan University professor Beverly Matherne. Les Editions Tintamarres, 2009.
The Last Lord of Paradise by Vivian Lemay. Fictional series featuring the culture and genealogy of the Detroit River Region French.
The Orenda by award-winning Canadian Métis author Joseph Boyden. This expansive work tells the story of life around Georgia Bay, Ontario in the years when French Jesuits first contacted Huron communities, featuring the voices of a Jesuit, a Huron warrior, and an Iroquois girl help captive by the Huron.
The Voyageur’s Paddle by Kathy Jo Wargin, Sleeping Bear Press (children)
Ashlee Michot, Louisana author and photographer. Books of photography and prose concerning life around Prairie des Femmes, Louisiana by a local Prairie des Femmes writer, photographer, and cultural activist.
Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer. From Good Reads” “Throughout his three decades in North America, Champlain remained committed to a remarkable vision, a Grand Design for France’s colony. He encouraged intermarriage among the French colonists and the natives, and he insisted on tolerance for Protestants. He was a visionary leader, especially when compared to his English and Spanish contemporaries — a man who dreamed of humanity and peace in a world of cruelty and violence.”
Frenchtown Chronicles of Prairie du Chien: History and Folklore from Wisconsin’s Frontier by Mary Elise Antoine and Lucy Elderveld Murphy, Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
Songs Upon the Rivers: The Buried History of the French-Speaking Canadiens and Métis from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi across to the Pacific by Robert Foxcurran, Michel Bouchard, Sébastien Malette. An important new scholarly title detailing the massive and often hidden French history of North America.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario. The Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario (GNO), is an artist-run centre that brings together francophone visual artists working in contemporary art in Ontario. In November, GNO will be holding a sale on all art works to support their gallery.
Nicole Lapointe, Detroit Artist working with French-Canadian folklore themes offers this whimsical set of Justin Trudeau temporary tatto0s.
Annette Sullivan, First Nations and Métis Ontarian artist featuring themes of river life, Métis culture, and the voyageur world.
“Santons de Charlevoix” – Crèche statuettes made in Quebec, featuring themes of French and Métis life in North America
Fort du Buade, St. Ignace, Michigan. Give membership or become a member of one of Upper Michigan’s most unique and important museums and cultural centers, drawing on and supporting the legacy of Native Americans and French-Canadians, the fur trade, and traditional life in the Straits of Mackinac.
French Heritage Museum Kankakee, Illinois. Consider donating to a museum devoted to the long-standing French-Canadian community of Kankakee, Illinois whose roots are so important in understanding the French presence of Illinois from the 17th century onward.
Sieur de Vincennes statue fundraiser, Vincennes, Indiana. A modern print of an antique engraving featuring the Wabash River, Indiana. Prints are $20.00 each and can be purchased through the Vincennes City Hall and the Knox County Public Library. All proceeds will go toward bronzing the Sieur de Vincennes statue. Order prints by sending a check for $20.00 to Vincennes City Hall, 205 Vigo St., Vincennes, Indiana 47591 or call 812-882-7285. To donate you may also simply click on the image and you will be redirected to a GoFundMe page.
Our Lady of Lourdes tourtière fundraiser, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Consider volunteering or buying your Christmas/New Year tourtière from Our Lady of Lourdes.
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
Stef Paquette, Franco-Ontarian humorist and musician.
Genot Picor and les Trois Bouffons. Traditional music from Michigan raconteur and storytelling Genot “Winter Elk” Picor.
Zachary Richard. “Cultural activist, environmentalist poet and singer-songwriter Zachary Richard’s roots are deeply planted in his native Louisiana.” Richard is a vigorous and important proponent of ensuring the continuity of French North American cultures.
PRINTS AND POSTERS
‘Canoes in a Fog on Lake Superior’ and other prints may be purchased through the Minnesota Historical Society online bookstore.
Franco-Ontarian history in English and French — Designer Mark Keelan-Bishop‘s series of posters are recommended for ages 13-17 For more information see Les Rebelles. Prints can be purchsed at Librarie de Centre.
L’autrefois: Des paysages du passé Etsy shop: Prints of antique Québécois images.