Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
seems to link the latter two cultures, as does the barely visible presence
of a beaver ( castor ), symbol of the French-Amerindian fur trade and al-
liance, on a mound to the Native's left. Since Légaré was arrested for
sedition in 1837, he is likely exploring his relationship to British rule,
but is it one of submission as some claim 9 or of resistance as proposed
by others? François-Marc Gagnon, a proponent of the latter option, con-
tends that 'l'Indien est donc réduit ici à une pure fonction symbolique.
Il tient la place d'un sentiment: le goût de la liberté qui reste vivant au
coeur des Fils de la liberté et de tous les vrais “patriotes.”' ('Joseph
Légaré,' 45; the Indian is thus reduced here to a pure symbolic function.
He stands for a feeling: the taste for freedom that remains alive in the
hearts of the Sons of Freedom and of all true 'patriots.') 10 The contro-
versy itself seems to confirm Prioul's assessment of the 'ambivalence'
of the painting ('Paysage,' 365), but perhaps this very ambivalence cap-
tures that of Légaré and all French-Canadian patriots, obliged to ac-
knowledge British supremacy, but determined to assert French and
Amerindian sovereignty, if only for the future; as Gagnon and Lacasse
put it: 'Au moment où le présent semblait si sombre pour la nation
canadienne-française, il n'y avait plus qu'à rêver d'un très lointain
avenir où le vainqueur d'aujourd'hui ne sera plus qu'un souvenir ou-
blié, une vieille statue dérisoire.' (74; At a time when the present seemed
so sombre for the French-Canadian nation, the only recourse was to
dream of a faraway future when today's victor will be no more than a
forgotten memory, a ridiculous old statue.) It is the painting itself that
becomes the means of fostering and perpetuating this nationalist dream
through the same process of collapsing past ('souvenir'), present ('le
présent'), and future ('un très lointain avenir'), described by Gagnon
and Lacasse, that characterizes the mechanism of memorialization, as
described by Namer and witnessed in relation to L'Iroquoise .
Louise and Caroline
Despite their French names, the maidens of this subtitle are two
Amerindians, victimized by Europeans yet memorialized by them in
short stories by Pierre-Georges Boucher de Boucherville and Amédée
Papineau, respectively. Both writers were, like the painter Légaré, im-
plicated in the failed patriots' rebellions.
Boucher de Boucherville's 'Louise Chawinikisique' (1835) begins
with a lengthy disquisition on the fragility of monuments, which, like
the people or events they are meant to commemorate, are doomed to
Search WWH ::

Custom Search