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she also endures her torture to avenge her dead husband and to dem-
onstrate her Iroquois origins, as her father proudly proclaims: 'Ah!
s'écria le père avec transport, le pur sang des Iroquois coule dans ses
veines.' (42; 'Ha!' exclaimed the old man, exultingly, 'the pure blood of
the Iroquois runs in her veins' [72].) And, after all, the story's title is
L'Iroquoise , not La Chrétienne ! Similarly, all traces of culture are erased
from Mesnard's colony ('toutes les traces de la culture effacées à Saint-
Louis' (40), just as the traces of his text are erased from the manuscript.
Yet, Mesnard pushes west into Huron territory, where his maxims re-
main engraved in the hearts of his followers - 'les Hurons ont encore
plusieurs de ses maximes gravées dans leur coeur' (29) - and the con-
tent of his illegible manuscript is preserved forever by the anonymous
author's published story.
In short, we have a tale that is deliciously ambivalent and thus decid-
edly modern, but also definitely 'national' in reviving ancestral heroes,
deeds, and values . 6 Perhaps the specific message is less important than
the memorializing process, the creation of cultural sites of memory: the
cell alongside Lake Huron for Mesnard, the text itself for the Iroquois
martyr. The missionary and the Amerindian, two key cultural icons from
the French colonial period are resurrected in the early nineteenth century
as components of the French-Canadian identity, one representing cul-
ture, the other nature, and together the perpetual interplay between the
two, which also characterizes the early painting of the period, especially
that of Joseph Légaré, in which we find a commensurate conflation of
epochs, races, and messages in the service of commemoration.
Joseph Légaré
Joseph Légaré (1795-1855), a French-Canadian partisan, patriot, and
politician, founded the first public art gallery in Quebec (indeed in
Canada) in 1833 and was, according to John Porter, 'the first native
Canadian landscape-painter' ( Joseph Légaré , 16, his italics). In addition
to numerous landscapes, Légaré did many paintings of Amerindians,
including his Martyre de Françoise Brunon-Gonannhatenha , 1827-40 (fig-
ure 2.1), in which he illustrated not only a long-standing legend of an
Amerindian martyr but, seemingly, the story L'Iroquoise itself. 7
Here, quite uncharacteristically, Légaré reduces the landscape to a
minimum in order to focus on the dramatic final scene of the legend,
depicted faithfully in L'Iroquoise , where Françoise is confronted by her
father, who holds the crucifix he had torn from her before carving
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