In the preface, the renowned sociologist Denys Delage announces the colors of this book: it will be a question of our interbreeding, of these links that we have established with the First Nations. Commercial ties, but also emotional and loving, everything that made us something other than French people obeying the king’s orders.
“The proximity and interaction of the settlers with the Aboriginals,” he says, “strongly inspired the distancing of Canadians and the French from their home society, introducing self-doubt as to how to raise children, the private nature of property, the absolute authority of the king and the binding nature of the orders of officers, the rules of marriage and sexuality. “
For Marco Wingender, who is not a historian, he specifies, but a fan of the history of the Americas, our national history, made up of “inspiring characters, exploits, tragedies, conquests and above all stories. friendship at the heart of the meeting of two civilizations that everything opposed ”, deserves to be better known and told“ with the eyes of the heart ”, because the Quebec people are unfortunately“ amnesiac of their past ”. He therefore intends to tell “the history of New France from the angle of the meeting between the French colonists and the First Nations of northeastern North America, of the relationship that developed between them. as well as the resulting crossbreeding ”. Epic business that draws on hundreds of books and various documents.
Because Wingender invites us to revisit New France from different angles, by canoe, on foot, on snowshoes, to the depths of the woods, on the paths traced by our Native American brothers or in the freshly cleared fields, seeking to do battle. with the British enemy or succumbing to the call of Eros “in contact with the charm of Amerindian women”, thus initiating themselves “to a liberated sexuality of which they could never have even dreamed within their European society of origin ”.
His story begins with the conquest of the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba by the Spaniards, while Christopher Columbus and his soldiers brutally subject the indigenous population to slavery. Then Cortés seized Tenochtitlan (Mexico), the Aztec capital, and Pizarro did the same with the Inca Empire in Peru.
Attracted by the plunder of the Spaniards they want to overcome, the English landed on the east coast of North America, in Virginia, first. Dislodging the Amerindian populations, then exterminating them outright – “diseases and wars reduced the number of Algonquians in Virginia from 24,000 in 1607 to just 2,000 in 1669” – they set out to colonize the region as far as New England. .
French colonization, later, on the shores of the St. Lawrence, was also marked, at the beginning, by the same arrogance towards the Amerindian populations. But this attitude changed at the turn of the 17th century, as “the nature of diplomatic relations between the French and the Aboriginals took on a unique historical trajectory, more cordial and more egalitarian than those of all other rival colonies in the Americas.” . Champlain had something to do with it, he who “aspired to live in a world where people could live in peace with each other, despite their differences”.
Mixing anecdotes, historical facts and personal reflections, in the manner of Serge Bouchard, the author of this book takes us through nearly 500 years of history, reminding us of many forgotten feats of arms.
The mixed people of Quebec form the twelfth of the First Nations, affirms the author, before concluding: “It is not by blood that the sense of belonging is transmitted, but by osmosis, by being intimately attached to a culture, living it every day, mingling with it and helping to renew it with its own contemporary colors. Ours, she was born in a Franco-Amerindian world whose imprints were left by its first inhabitants, Native people and French immigrants who became Acadians, Canadians and Métis. »Then Québécois.