Our Family Lines memoir writing.

June Memoir Prompt

Today, June 27, is Canadian Multiculturalism Day.

Canada as Communities

Our country is made up of so many various and vibrant cultural communities. The diversity is amazing and something we should celebrate. It got me thinking, we live among many different societies, traditions and history – what am I allowed to call mine? What would be considered cultural appropriation?

What is my history?

What is my history? Is it that of my parents? Grandparents? Great-grandparents and beyond? Is it in the fields and waters where I grew up? Or in the mountains where I live now?

I’ve been writing a bit about the Acadians in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia. I mention them in a book that's part of my detective series for tweens. In 1755, many Acadians were deported from settlements around the Bay of Fundy. They were separated from their families, livelihoods and the place they called home.

When the Acadians arrived in “New France” centuries ago, they drained and farmed the fertile land that belonged to the Mi’kmaq. It has been claimed that both communities co-existed peacefully. However, there’s no doubt that the Indigenous people would have been separated from a coastal area that was part of their territory.

Writing About Shared Memories 

When you stand on a spit of sand in north Grand Pré, you get a view of Cape Blomidon. This is a large chunk of red earth sticking up into the blue and out into the brown mud of the Minas Basin. It was probably the last thing the Acadians saw before the ships they were forced to board sailed into the Bay of Fundy.

Blomidon is also tied to Mi’kmaq history and stories. The sloping cliffs figure in the story of Kluskap (Glooscap) and how he discovered the world. I am neither Acadian nor Indigenous, but Blomidon is part of my history, too. For me, it's the first sight of home while driving on the highway from Halifax International Airport.

I learned about Acadian history as a child in school. As well, I learned about Mi'kmaq history throughout my years of education (although it should have been a lot more in-depth than it was). I lived in an area steeped in both histories. I couldn’t escape the narratives of both communities. Nevertheless, I can’t write as if I was Acadian or Mi’kmaq. That would be cultural appropriation. I can write about my memories and experiences through our shared land. That’s the story I’ll claim.

Who was your first best friend?

Write a memoir about how you became friends.

Tell us how you met, what you did and if you’re still friends.

Share your story!