“The young children know bits and pieces. In my opportunities to speak with them, even great great grandchildren of the people who lived there know tidbits.
To capture a wider area, I don’t know what the engagement factor would be, except to make it relevant to them. So, how would you feel if … ?
And I often tell people that – even people from the area that I live in, which is a different part of Eastern Ontario. I say, ‘Imagine if they took these three towns that we love so much and said, now all of you have to move and we’re going to scour everything off and put water over it. How would you feel?’
And when you say that, they go: Gasp!
And I think kids have the same reaction: Gasp!”
Jennifer DeBruin (née Lalonde), Interview Audio Excerpts, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013
Making history relevant
Destruction is emotionally difficult, but that’s also true for the Akwasane, Old Soul.
Mom stood at river’s edge. Never talked about her experience, her mom under water.
Lost Villages Historical Society is a great resource.
Ingleside and Long Sault are not the big hubs they said they would become.
History is a double edged sword.
Video Excerpt: Jennifer DeBruin (née Lalonde), Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013
In this video clip Jennifer DeBruin (née Lalonde) who is descended from Moulinette discusses the importance of making history relevant so that its importance is understood.
Grappling with ones own history can be difficult when a large, important part of ones story is ignored and denied in the narrative put forward by the authorities responsible for that part. Such is the situation with the St Lawrence Seaway and the lost villages where the fate of these communities is largely ignored or whitewashed with gee-whiz stories about moving houses, technological progress, modernity, local sacrifice and patriotism. It has been difficult for many of those involved to address their personal and family traumas in the absence of a larger meta-narrative that acknowledges and addresses all of what happened, good and bad.
The limitations of not honestly addressing the history of the lost villages in all its dimensions extend well beyond the St Lawrence Valley. Without trying to know and understand what happened with the Sunken Villages, Canadian society is much the poorer, for without this history it is likely that many of the same mistakes will be made again.
Jennifer DeBruin descends from family that once lived in Moulinette, Ontario.
Jennifer is a geneologist and historian with a keen interest in what happened with the construction of the Seaway and its consequences. She is an active member of the Lost Villages Historical Society.
She resides in Smith Falls, Ontario.