Remembering Queen Elizabeth II: A Long Overdue Apology to the Acadian People
Queen Elizabeth II lived an amazing life as Great Britain's only post-World War II queen. Her funeral was on Monday as mourners from all over the world paid their final respects to her.
She has been praised for her service in World War II, the stability she brought to the throne, for being the first British Monarch to address Congress, and for her reign's longevity of more than 70 years - as grunge.com points out.
But one of the greatest things she did - and it doesn't get a lot of praise outside of the Cajun culture - was the formal apology she issued to the Acadian people. Le Grand Derangement was the illegal deportation of thousands of French Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755 that was carried out by the British. As a Comeaux who is a descendant of the Acadians, seeing that moment in history through a documentary during a class field trip in 4th Grade was sobering and awe-inspiring. It gave me tremendous pride in my ancestors who were exiled to the land we know now as Acadiana - a land of swampy marshland that no one wanted but that the Acadians used to build their own civilization for themselves and the many generations who have followed.
In 1990, Lafayette attorney Warren Perrin - a descendant of the expelled Acadians himself - demanded an apology from the British monarch for the horrible mistreatment of the Acadiens and threatened them with a class action lawsuit "on behalf of five million Acadians in the world today."
In 2003, Queen Elizabeth issued her formal apology.
She expressed her regret for that having taken place and hoped that the page could be turned in reconciliation for the Acadian people and the British Crown,” Perrin told Louisiana Radio Network.
This apology is so significant because Perrin points out the document - which is bilingual - "is used in all our French immersion schools to teach children about history." You can find that original signed document in the archives of Canada while the only other signed copy is at the Acadian museum in Erath.