FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued by Randy Dickinson, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, on the occasion of National Acadian Day:

On Aug. 15, we celebrate National Acadian Day and join in celebration of the traditions, culture and unique history of the Acadian people.

On this day, we acknowledge the great difficulties the Acadian people have endured, particularly during the Great Upheaval, also known as Le Grand Dérangement, when many Acadians were forced to leave their homes and communities between 1755 and 1763. Despite these obstacles, the Acadian people have been able to preserve their culture and language.

One of the mechanisms in place to support the Acadian people is the Human Rights Act, which promotes the rights of Acadians and of all New Brunswickers. The Human Rights Commission administers the Human Rights Act, and ensures that discrimination is addressed and human rights are respected regardless of ancestry, religion, national origin and the other characteristics listed in the act.

On Aug. 15, in celebration of their culture, many Acadians take part in Tintamarre, a tradition that has been likened to the heartbeat of Acadia. It is a time when people march through the streets making noise with noisemakers and instruments to demonstrate the vibrancy of the Acadian culture. It is a tradition established by the Acadian people, celebrated annually in Caraquet since 1979, and recognized widely as a symbol of Acadian culture.

This year, the fifth Acadian World Congress will be held from Aug. 8 to 24 in Edmundston, with the theme Acadie of the World: A New Acadie. The congress is an opportunity for Acadians to gather and celebrate their culture. Programming for the congress is based on an Acadia that is inclusive, international and strongly centred on its communities. This is evident through the 125 families gathering and the 200 community activities, among other festivities planned for the occasion. More information is available online.

National Acadian Day is a time to celebrate the diversity of this province and to recognize the Acadian people and their culture throughout Canada. On Aug. 15, we invite all New Brunswickers to join with Acadians from New Brunswick and across the world to celebrate the rich and vibrant Acadian culture that is such an important part of life in New Brunswick.