MONCTON, N.B. - Two hundred and forty five years is a long time to hold a grudge, but Warren Perrin is one determined guy.
For the past 10 years, the Lafayette, Louisiana lawyer has been pushing
for an apology from the
British Crown on behalf of himself, his longed ancestors and the more
than one million
Acadians and Cajuns in Canada and the United States.
Perrin sees himself as a survivor of one of the worst cases of
ethnic cleansing in the history of
North America - the expulsion of Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755.
The decision by British governors to remove an entire ethnic
population - the French
speaking Acadians - from the colony of Nova Scotia had consequences that
Now, on the verge of the year 2000, many Acadians are still affected
by their tragic past and
the difficulties it imposed on their lives.
It defies us, Perrin, a descendant of Acadians, says of the
It is the defining event in our history. It's a precursor to what
we now call ethnic cleansing.
Perrin is still furious about the expulsion that labeled all
Acadians international criminals and
rebels. He's also outraged by the fact the deportation order has never
We're people in perpetual exile, he says angrily.
The law is still on the books deporting Acadians forever. It's not
being enforced, but
technically, the law still labels me an international criminal.
Perrin believes he is getting closer to an apology.
He notes the British have been saying they're sorry to lots of folks
lately, including aboriginals
of New Zealand, victims of the Boer war and Irish driven from their
homeland by the potato
It's going to happen, Perrin says confidently. There is a movement now towards this form of conciliation, and it's carrying along the Acadians.
While there have been several calls from others for a formal apology from the Queen, there isn't a hue and cry for such a gesture here in New Brunswick, heartland of Acadian life and
The expulsion order was never annulled, but many Acadians forced out of what are the Maritime provinces gradually drifted back following a peace treaty between France and
England in 1763.
Some never left the region, but went into hiding in the dense
forests of New Brunswick.
Others, like Perrin's ancestors, sailed south to Louisiana where, over the centuries, they lost their language and much of their cultural identity in the huge U.S. melting pot.
There are no reliable population figures for the Acadians in 1755, but it is believed about 11,000 were deported between 1755 and 1758, while another 3000 hid.
There are now about 245,000 francophones, most of them Acadians, in New Brunswick, with another 34,000 Acadians in Nova Scotia and 5,500 in Prince Edward Island.
Perrin believes there are at least a million people in the United States who can claim Acadian ancestry.
The deportation isn't discussed much these days, says historian Leon Theriault of the University of Moncton. It happened too long ago. But still the deportation for us is the
equivalent to the conquest for Quebecers. The deportation decapitated Acadian society.
Source: Canadian Press the London Free Press November 18, 1999.
Note: Warren Perrin Attorney as stated, with offices at Lafayette and Erath, Louisiana.
His office in Erath is in the same building as the Acadian Museum - mailing address:
203 S. Broadway
Erath, Louisiana 70533
318-937-5468 or 318-937-8401
Open: 1 to 4 Monday thru Friday
Warren Perrin is the chief mover of the museum and spends a lot of time there.
Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, January 14, 1999
Perrin: Britain must apologize says
Lafayette attorney accusing the crown of genocide, other crimes against
- Ron Delhomme, St. Martin Bureau Editor -
Lafayette Warren Perrin refuses to quit chasing the Queen's carriage in
his demand for apology from Great Britain for the deportation of thousands
on Acadians from Nova Scotia in the 1750s.
Perrin, a Lafayette attorney is accusing the Crown of severe breaches of
fundamental British and international laws, genocide and other crimes
Should the British refuse to apologize, or if they continue hesitating,
Perrin says he intends to file his petition with United Nations
International War Crimes Tribunal, the European Court of Human Rights or a
U.S. federal court.
His ten year campaign to have the British government officially the Acadian
exile has gained support around the world, and the momentum continues to
increase with the advent of FrancoFête '99 and the World Acadian Congress,
hosted this year by Louisiana.
Dozens of newspaper articles and other forms of publicity worldwide have
appeared since Perrin first filed his petition in 1990 but 1998 was a banner
year, Perrin says.
The national film board of Canada approved the making of a documentary, "Le
Pardon," which begins filming in March. It will focus on Perrin's petition,
the motives and misdeeds of the British and the benefits of an apology.
The British Broadcasting Corp. presented another documentary on the exile
last year, and WWL television in New Orleans presented an editorial
commentary which called for an apology.
Other articles have appeared in newspapers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans,
Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and in National Geographic,
Readers' Digest, USA Today and numerous Canadian, European and African
The Los Angeles Times Magazine calls Perrin the oneman Acadian Liberation
Locally, Perrin's petition has been around so long few remember it. Those
who do generally agree with him, although the larger concepts about which he
speaks are often lost.
What's a tyrant to do?
Perrin's position is simple, he says.
In order for the British government to have a respected voice in the area
of international human rights, it should use this opportunity to change its
image as one of the violators in the history of modern civilization, he
He has even provided them with a proposed apology:
The Crown expresses its profound regret and apologizes unreservedly for the
loss of lives because of the circumstances arising from the deportation of
the Acadians from Acadie and the resultant devastation of property and
social life, it reads in part.
That's all he wants.
That, and an inquiry into the deportation; an official end to the Acadian
exile by a declaration anulling the Order of Deportation; and a gesture of
goodwill by the creation of a monument to memorialize the end of the exile.
Then, Perrin says, can come forgiveness and reconciliation.
Last year alone, Britain apologized to Israelis for the confiscation of
Jewish bank accounts during World War II and announced a judicial inquiry
into the 1972 killing of 13 Catholic protestors in Northern Ireland.
There is no statute of limitations on genocide, Perrin says.
L'Angleterre est toujours indifférente au sort des Acadiens
This page is both in French and English. Please read through.
This first letter is from our Acadian Cousin, Florian Bernard of Montreal. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chers amis acadiens,
Le 11 août dernier, à l'occasion du Sommet de la Francophonie de Moncton et de la visite du Président de la France en Acadie, et aussi à l'occasion du Congrès Mondial Acadien en Louisiane, j'ai adressé une lettre au premier ministre d'Angleterre, Monsieur Tony Blair, lui demandant de profiter de ces grands événements acadiens pour recommander à Sa Majesté et au Gouvernement anglais de présenter des excuses aux Acadiens pour la déportation de 1755. J'ai rapelé au premier ministre que la déportation des Acadiens fut un acte délibéré d'épuration ethnique, au même titre que les crimes d'épuration ethnique en Bosnie, au Kosovo et ailleurs dans le monde, et que si l'Angleterre s'est élevée contre de tels crimes, elle devait aussi, en conscience, reconnaître ses propres torts à l'endroit des Acadiens.
Le 13 octobre dernier, après un silence de plus de deux mois, j'ai reçu une réponse à ma lettre, venant du Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Bureau des relations avec le Commonwealth. Voici le texte intégral de cette lettre ...
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2AH
13 October 1999
Mr F Bernard,
Thank you for your letter of 11 August to the Prime Minister about the Acadians. I have been asked to reply as this Department is responsible for the United Kingdom's relations with Canada.
Her Majesty's Government consider this event, which occured in 1755, to be a matter of historical debate and it is difficult and perhaps misleading to make comparisons between contemporary events and those which occured nearly two and a half centuries ago.
The Acadian contribution to the development of North America has been a significant one. But as Nova Scotia is now a part of Canada, any questions concerning its history or its people should be referred to the Canadian Government.
North America Department,
PS: Vous avez toutes les autorisations requises si vous souhaitez utiliser ces informations sur l'un de vos sites Web et sur le réseau de l'Internet. Si vous souhaitez m'adresser des commentaires par E-Mail, vous êtes les bienvenus.
Florian gives permission for anyone who wants to post these letters on their web sites to do so.
Please feel free to use my correspondance with the British Commonwealth Foreign Office about the Acadian deportation on your Web site. I am glad that you gathered some news from the lawyer Perin who has been working hard on the same dossier for years. I know about his efforts and I think he his a great acadian patriot. I'll be looking to your site with great pleasure. Truly, Florian - Montréal.
In essence, on the occassion of the Francophone Summit August 11, 1999 in Moncton, New Brunswick as well as the World Congress of Acadians that was held in Louisiana, our cousin Florian thought it would be appropriate to write to Mr. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of England, asking that Her Majest and the Government of England be reminded of the injustice done to the Acadians in the 1755 Deportation and that it was nothing less than ethnic cleansing that we have seen in Kosovo,etc... hoping that England might, once and for all, admit her guilt in the whole situation. He also wrote of the great contributions the Acadians had made. The response from England follows.