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The Madawaska Historical Society has been sponsoring family reunions as part of the Acadain Festival in Madawaska since 1980. Hiere Lillian Chassť Ouellett, 88, gets a plaque for being the oldest female Chassť to attend the 1995 Chassť Family Reunion.
The range of organizations that might present some aspect of the Maine Acadian story to the public or preserve Maine Acadian culture is quite broad. It includes social clubs with an educational and cultural focus, schools, community organizations, chambers of commerce, archives and libraries, arts groups, and historical societies and museums. Constituencies could be international, national, state-wide, or local.

In consultation with the Maine Acadian Culture Preservation Commission, the planning team identified more than 125 organizations as potential "cooperators" with the National Park Service. The team has consulted with over 50 of these. For the most part, cultural conservation efforts in the Upper St. John Valley have been initiated by community-based, volunteer historical societies.

Over a dozen historic buildings and furnishings may be seen at the Village acadiennes in Van Buren. A primarily local focus directs the work of historical societies such as St. Agatha, Fort Kent, Frenchville, and St. Francis, while a few groups maintain both a community and regional focus. The Acadian Village in Van Buren, for example, preserves and displays a collection of historic houses from throughout the Valley. The Madawaska Historical Society has been a leader in regional efforts to celebrate Maine Acadian heritage since the 1970s. The society initiated the annual Acadian Festival, maintains a regionally-oriented publications program, and commemorates the early settlement of the Valley at the Acadian Landing Site. L'Association culturelle et historique du Mont-Carmel strives to interpret religious architecture and the influence of religion in the Valley, and provide a venue for cultural programming.

Over the past 20 years conservation initiatives associated with the French language have been largely focused on the educational system. The Northern Maine Bilingual Education Project has been working in local schools since the 1970s. In 1993 a Valley-wide "Committee to Save Our French" was formed by Valley residents interested in reviving and preserving the French language for the younger generation.

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Some publications and events sponsored by the National Park Service as part of the implementation of the Maine Acadian Culture Preservation Act. Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes photograph by Nicholas Hawes, 2003.


The bilingual and multi-cultural mission of the University of Maine at Fort Kent is evident at the campus entrance.The University of Maine at Fort Kent preserves and fosters an appreciation of the Acadian and Franco-American heritage by providing a home for the Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes, emphasizing the French language and bilingual/multicultural concerns, and cooperating with nearby Canadian universities. The Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes was establishedTrésha Betancourt, a workstudy student at the Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes, adding images to the web edition of Acadian Culture in Maine. at the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 1989. It is a repository and resource center, offering on-site consultation regarding archival collections and information about regional folklore, history, and folklife. Several other agencies of state government have also been involved in conservation of Maine Acadian culture.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Recreation maintains the Fort Kent Historic Site and has expressed interest in participating in future cultural conservation efforts in the Upper St. John Valley. Over the years other state agencies involved in Valley projects include the Maine Arts Commission, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Maine Humanities Council, and the Maine State Museum.

The 1910 "Green Water Tank" and former Bangor & Aroostook Railroad caboose are properties of the Frenchville Historical Society adjacent to the former railroad station. Cultural organizations have had success in preserving material culture and folklore of the Upper St. John Valley. Historic structures and artifact collections offer opportunities to interpret Maine Acadian culture. Historic houses, barns, and churches--which provided arenas for daily activities--are complemented by tools, furnishings, and religious items used by Maine Acadians in everyday life. Documentary and archival materials related to the Valley provide grounding for an examination of Maine Acadians' lives. Local and state organizations and individuals are concerned about the future of Maine Acadian culture and present a wide range of potential National Park Service partners.

 
Some publications and events sponsored by the National Park Service as part of the implementation of the Maine Acadian Culture Preservation Act. Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes photograph by Nicholas Hawes, 2003.
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