Stereotypical Portrait of French-Canadian Culture

What is it to be a real French-Canadian? Here is one portrait that demonstrates in a highly stereotypical manner the heart of French-Canadian culture – to laugh and be happy despite daily hardships. This portrait would never be considered a gem or a “photo-op” by today’s’ standards but it is exactly that by 20th century standards.

In reply to The Body or the Soul? Religion and Culture in a Rural Quebec Parish, St-Joseph-de-Beauce, 1736-1901 by Francis a. Abbott, this photo does reveal the true nature and cultural identity of a family born and raised in Saint Joseph de Beauce, a family practicing the Catholic faith, a group of people connected by a culture that is expressed outwardly despite daily challenges and economic hardships of the time.

Iconic Portrait of a French-Canadian Family

Portrait of a French-Canadian Family

The Poulin family, partially presented here, fulfilled every required demonstration of the Catholic faith but continued to hold to their cultural autonomy through song, dance and merriment despite the rigors that village cures attempted to impose on them.

After decades of moving away from their Canadian roots, the members of this photo continued for years to demonstrates the temps des fétes, the winter feasting that characterized Quebecois families.

Despite the vision of the Reverend Antoine Racine put forth in his 1853 report on the township of Saint-Joseph to Archbishop Turgeon, the continuation of exuberant celebration never did disappear from Saint-Joseph, nor from the traditional customs of the surrounding population. The attempts to change people’s attitudes toward a more submissive behavior and posture were seen as failures by 1901. No amount of catechism school lessons would bring forth the modified behavior viewed as appropriate by the Catholic Church.

These people were farmers, loggers, miners and trappers. Young boys and girls were pulled from their studies based on the farming seasons, the logging opportunities to earn a few dollars, the cyclical movements of game in the area. By 1901, local farmers had minimal interest in having their children schooled in drafty, one-room schoolhouses. Of what use was an education on sheep, grain and dairy farms that valued an extra set of hands each day of the year?

For far too long, the Catholic Church has tried to interfere with basic cultural indoctrination, a facet of character that is not really part and parcel of a “fervent faith in God”, is it? To be truly French-Canadian, your family would resemble much more closely the one depicted above.

– Abbott, Francis A. (2012) The body or the Soul? Religion and culture in a rural Quebec parish, St-Joseph-de-Beauce, 1736-1901, published Fall 2012, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

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Welcome to the Beauce Valley

Thanks for stopping by and exploring the Pioneers of the Beauce, a fertile valley in southern Quebec.

The Beauce Valley was originally populated by Abenaki, Algonquin and many other smaller First Nation bands.  This region of Quebec slowly grew from the 1800s with a constant influx of immigrant French, English, and Irish. People from the many villages of the Beauce include a strong legacy of determination, perseverance, and beliefs that live on today.  Today,  Beaucerons are the hardest-working people of Quebec.  Their reputation for conscientious and honest workers is known far and wide.

Going down the street to the center of Saint Joseph de Beauce.

Going down the street to the center of Saint Joseph de Beauce.

 

 

Deer, Elk and Wild Boar at the Hunter’s Farm in Sainte-Hénédine

In the southeast province of Quebec, there is a wonderful farm in Sainte-Hénédine known as The Hunter’s Farm.

The Hunter's Farm in Saint-Henedine, Queebec.

The Hunter’s Farm in Saint-Henedine, Queebec.

The owner raises wild boars and breeds elk and deer.

Where's the grass?

Where’s the grass?

The boars stay in very strong, fenced corrals inside of other fenced-in corrals.

Looking for lunch by the fence.

Looking for lunch by the fence.

They are extremely powerful and do not always play nice with their own kind.

Girls fighting for attention.

Girls fighting for attention.

Many boars have brown striping across their shoulder to hind.  In a series of nurseries, young boars work out who is top pig. This area of the farm is pretty noisy all day long.

Many baby boars have visible stripes.

Many baby boars have visible stripes.

In long, open spaces and shaded fields, deer and elk roam as they please.

Hey, I'm hiding under this tree.  Get your own.

Hey, I’m hiding under this tree. Get your own.

The owner also harvests meat and pelts himself, butchering and freezing product for the restaurant industry.

You can't see me, right?

You can’t see me, right?

When hunting season starts, he allows licensed sportsmen to come in and thin out his herd.

A corral of elk.

A corral of elk.

The owner also harvests meat and pelts himself, butchering and freezing product for the local restaurant industry.

The protective male raises his rack.

The protective male raises his rack.

I got a wonderful back scene view of the owner feeding deer and elk, cautiously walking all around my car within arms’ reach.  What a thrill it was.

Feeding time.

Feeding time.

Elie Poulin – An Early Pioneer in the Beauce Valley

Thanks for stopping by and exploring the story of Elie Poulin, one of the pioneers of the Beauce Valley. Located in southern Quebec, Elie lived from 1819 to 1894 in the village of Saint Joseph de Beauce along with perhaps 30 other pioneering families.

Joseph Elie Isaac Poulin and his wife, Archange Nadeau, produced at least 15 issue.  From this one couple, there remains a legacy of French Canadian wherewithal, determination and perseverance that lives on today.

Elie Poulin about 1837 at 18 years of age.

Elie Poulin about 1837 at 18 years of age.

Each of the pioneering families included the necessary skills to build a strong community that would prove to be as resilient as the soil was rich and fertile.