New Brunswick takes another Hit
Before people start thinking this is yet another piece of bad news, well, it is and it isn't. It's bad news, but it's the bad news that really doesn't have too much effect on our day to day lives. It's not like another mill closing, or unemployment going up, or anything like that. In fact, it's purely symbolic, and that really only effects those who put a lot of stock in symbols-most of us have lives.
For many of us, history is something that 'somebody told me...' about. Much of the 'facts' are little jingles that seem to seep into our collective, or individual unconscious. Most of the time we don't even realize that the things we take for granted may never be what we thought they were at all.
If you go to the gnb.ca website then you'll see the link to the 2004 celebrations of the St.Croix island. As we've been told, New Brunswick had the first permanent settlement in Canada. Sure, it was freezing, most of the people died and as soon as the ice let up they let out for the warmer climes of the Annapolis Valley. A bad story, but at least it was a 'first'. I've never been real clear on the whole 'the first to...' theory of patriotism, but hey, you take what you can get.
But wait, did I read that right? Let's go back and check it out at the gnb.ca website....there it is, in black and white...the first FRENCH 'permanent colony! That's right, it's not the first colony at all, just the first french one. Of course we all know that vikings were in Newfoundland long before, but who cares about vikings. Hell, we might as well forget the whole thing since natives were here long before that even.
However, the main point here is that that french 'colony' wasn't the european first. That's right, not only did Newfoundland beat New Brunswick to the punch but so did Nova Scotia. That's right, there's considerable evidence that the Portuguese had a colony in Cape Breton, near Ingonish.
Another interesting anecdote is that the portuguese had considerable relations with many native groups, including the Iroquois where Champlain first heard the term 'Acanata' which later became Canada. Interestingly, the Portuguese found little of value in our fair country, and called it 'hanacanada', which is an old portuguese word meaning 'nothing there'. So not only does New Brunswick come off not well, but it's possible our country doesn't mean 'village' after all.