Title: Two Conquests: Aboriginal Experiences of the Fall of New France and Acadia

Two Conquests uses the ‘spaces of power’ approach to compare Mi’kmaw and Huron-Wendat experiences of the conquest of New France.  By addressing the political, social and cultural uses of space and power, this work argues that although the fall of Acadia and Quebec brought about the end of French influence in North America, these events also caused considerable, if variable, change within Aboriginal communities.  Each community’s experience of colonialism and imperialism prior to the conquest directly shaped their reaction to this political transition.

The two case studies in this dissertation use official correspondence, travel narratives, census data, parish registers and notarial records.  Part one focuses on how the Mi’kmaq in modern-day southwestern Nova Scotia reacted to the British conquest of Acadia in 1710.  The Mi’kmaq did not systematically interact with European empires until after the French defeat.  After the conquest, most Mi’kmaq moved away from European strongholds and maintained autonomy from France and Britain.  Part two looks at the Huron-Wendat at Jeune-Lorette, a small Jesuit mission village near the town of Quebec.  Unlike the Mi’kmaq, the Huron-Wendat were deeply involved in both Aboriginal and French worlds.  Heavily invested in these overlapping worlds, the Huron-Wendat quickly made peace once British victory was clear.  With peace, change came slowly.  Only in the 1790s did the Huron-Wendat feel the full effects of the conquest.

Using ‘spaces of power’ demonstrates how Europeans capitalized on Aboriginal definitions of space to bolster their claims to North America and how Aboriginal people engaged with the colonial world and landscape to sustain their economy and culture.  Aboriginal communities’ responses to the two British conquests reflected their prior relationships with the French.  Where this interaction was limited, Aboriginal communities had difficulty developing a strong relationship with the British.  Where Aboriginal communities shared space and developed an integrated relationship, they found it easier to develop new strategies.  In both cases, they struggled to maintain their control over territory and managed to do so for nearly four decades.

Here’s another word cloud with many of the dissertation’s key nouns removed:

For more information or to get a copy of this dissertation please e-mail tspeace[at]gmail[point]com.

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