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Abenakis, Algonkian Amerindians
Abenakis (Algonkian Amerindians), 18th Century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Summary of this week’s Posts

What a week! This is what I wrote last Sunday when putting an end to that week’s posts.  This week, I expressed my wish for Canadian unity, using a quotation from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Part II, xxii).  Hobbes looked upon “private force” as unlawful.  It was a breach of the “social contract.” (See Thomas Hobbes on “Private Force”.)

I then remembered that on 4 September 2012, a man had tried to kill Premier-elect Pauline Marois.  This time, violence was not used by a member of a terrorist cell of an “indépendantiste” Québécois Party.  The shooter was a bilingual Quebecer and his weapon was a gun.  Richard Henry Bain, the accused, is about to stand trial, if doctors determine he is fit to appear in court.  If so, gun ownership may be an issue.  The Newtown Massacre has triggered a debate that is likely to spill over the US border and may spare Québécois and Quebecers another painful referendum.  Secession from Canada, on the part of Quebec, is an endeavor that requires serious examination.  (See Shooter Aimed at Premier-elect Pauline Marois.)

Finally, I remembered that although the settlers of New France had to defend themselves against attacks by Iroquoians and built fortresses, for most of its history, Canada has needed its Amerindians to ensure the “security of the state.”[i]  It started during the winter of 1535-1536, when Amerindians came to the rescue of Frenchmen dying of scurvy.  Later, in the seventeenth century, French settlers married Amérindiennes because France had not sent women.  The French in Canada are métissés.  Then came the voyageurs who needed the guidance of Amerindians.  (See Shooter Aimed at Premier-elect Pauline Marois)

Music of the Week

If I had to choose, my favorite music of the week would be “If Ye Love Me” by English composer Thomas Tallis (30 January 1505 – 23 November 1585, Greenwich), yet I also love Sir Henry Wood‘s ‘Suite No. 6,’ a transcription of J. S. Bach‘s ‘Lament,’ the ‘Adagio’ from Bach’s ‘Capriccio on the Departure of His Most Beloved Brother’ in Bb major, BWV 992.  YouTube released this video on 17 January and I featured it the very same day.  I am glad I do not have to choose.

Hero of the Week

Louis Riel (22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885), a Member of Parliament, a Métis leader, almost a lawyer (he studied Law), the Father of Manitoba and a Father of the Confederation remains a controversial figure.  He was executed at the age of 41, in Regina, Saskatchewan.  I mentioned him in one of this week’s post, but had previously written about him.  (See From Coast to Coast: Louis Riel as Father of the Confederation)

The Above Image

The Abenakis are Algonkian/Algonquian Amerindians.  They first lived in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, but moved to what is now Quebec.  Many died of diseases brought by Europeans, smallpox, in particular.  There are Abenakis to this day.  They live in Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.  However, most have been assimilated and most have long converted to Catholicism.  Given that they converted to Catholicism early, settlers may have chosen brides among Abenakis.

The Theme

So the week had a theme.  Hobbes condemned factious “private forces.”  People want to protect their identity, but need they create a country within a country.  People also want to protect themselves, but need they carry dangerous firearms and create militias that threaten rather than protect “the security of a free state.”  Do we have the right to encourage discontent?  Last Spring, Quebec students whose tuition fees are the lowest in Canada opposed a small raise, a few hundred dollars.  Madame Marois stepped in.


I am including a video on the Métis of Batoche.  The Métis were defeated at the Battle of Batoche (9 May – 12 May, 1885).  Louis Riel was hanged on 16 November 1885. Gabriel Dumont, who had requested Riel’s help, had fled to the United States.

Suggested Reading on Canadian Literature

© Micheline Walker
20 January 2013
[i] “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  (Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, 1791)