Page 18 - A Talk about George LeBrun
ISSUE : Issue 30
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/12/1
another business up here (Father Fiset's), and therefore there was a certain antagon? ism. And where there's antagonism between one business and another.... When you bring in these prejudices, you're bringing in the lifetime experiences be? tween two groups of people who are very similar in that they're French in origin, different In religion, and different in ?? background. The background being that the Acadians were people that lived in Canada in the colonization period, way back--and they were trying to develop their own com? munity, and now you get the merchants who are coming in, who are seen as opportun? ists, you might say, who take advantage of these poor people. This is how the whole picture is portrayed. But it's not black and white like that. When you look at the results of these people, the traders who came from Jersey, who came and settled here and became Canadians--over the years, like in the case of my grandfather, none of them made any great wealth--they just survived. From my experience, none seem to have exploited other people more than any? body else in the community then. Because there was a certain amount of exploita? tion- -taking advantage of the community-- done in the community by the other busi? ness people, among the Acadians themselves, as businesses were run in those days. I came to my grandfather to discuss things that kids were accusing us of. Just being Catholic meant that you were going to go to heaven. Being Protestant, you were damned right there without even a chance-- and this bothered me no end. So I came to my grandfather and he'd chuckle and he'd open the Bible and he'd read, "Those who believe in Me will be saved." This was part of learning. No matter what people said about you, when you got the facts, the truth--you could face anything. And of course, the Bible was the truth as far as his religion was concerned. (When you asked about sorcery...?) He'd laugh about it and he'd always give me some off-hand excuse--"They didn't understand." In some cases, as I grew older, he explained to me that superstition and sorcery were in the same class, and it existed because of not understanding, especially about things a- bout God. And that really when people could not explain when things did not go the way they wanted, they associated it with something bad which was evil, and that was done by sorcerers. And I suppose people incurring everyday life--it was hard, and people didn't understand why it went that way--it must have been a sorcer? er that did it. And therefore his attitude was to try to educate the people, that they should look for truth--and this is why he went to the Bible. His attitude was: he was so sure and confident within him? self that good was the only thing that should exist in the world, therefore if everybody understood about good, it would exist between people. The older generation knew him. They ac? cepted him. In fact, they missed him greatly. It may be of interest to our readers to learn that when Herbert LeBoutillier's father died in September, 1977, the community held the funeral at Eglise St. Pierre, the Catholic church in Cheticamp. It was the first time this had happened. The service was officiated by Rev. Dr. Thomas Bellis of the Margaree Harbour United Church, assisted by the Rev. Fr. R. Desjardine, who delivered the eulogy. Hymns were sung by a combined choir from Margaree Harbour and the Cheticamp parish. Interment was at St. Paul's Protestanr: Cemetery, Point Cross. Our thanks to Elizabeth Beaton Planetta for per? mission to read for background her "Sorcery Be? liefs and Oral Tradition in Chetio-amp, Cape Bret? on," M.A. Thesis, Memorial University of Newfound? land, 1980. She allowed us to go to her tapes as well, especially Tapes 1163, 1166, and 1077 in the Beaton Institute, College of Cape Breton. Herbert LeBoutillier's talk was edited, with his permis? sion, from a combination of his talk with Betty and an interview with Cape Breton's Magazine. Regarding both Jerseys and Acadians, there is very little available to the general reader • particular? ly in relation to Cape Breton. Besides those books mentioned in our "Statement," see Fr. Chiasson's Cheticamp; Histoire et Traditions acadiennes and Saunders' Jersey in the 18th and 19th Centuries. For the period of Huguenots in France (and thus a bit about the world the Acadians left), see The Age of Catherine de Medici by J. E. Neale, and The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew by Henri Nogueres. Finally (and importantly), the most recent issue of Acadiensis (Spring, 1981) is a particularly in? teresting issue, and it includes R. E. Ommer's es? say on the Jersey mercantile system in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, called "All the Fish of the Post...." It's a tiny bit academic, but you can get through that; and it serves as a good base line for think? ing about the role of the Jerseymen in Cape Breton. We welcome suggestions for further study on this subject. Finally, I am not satisfied to leave my readers with the implication that sorcery is something on? ly of the past, probably no more than a supersti? tion, a product of religion, social feelings, and fears. It would not be fair to fail to report that in recent months I've met people in parts of Cape Breton and people from away, who have shared with me their own experiences in the practice of sor? cery, who have insisted that it is still alive in the world. While I cannot say where they got the power to do what they claim they did. (whether it is from the devil or the human heart), I have no good reason to doubt the reality of their experi? ences. (18)
Cape Breton's Magazine