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Franco-American flags (U.S.)

Last modified: 2023-08-05 by rick wyatt
Keywords: franco-american flags |
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Background

I found some information on Franco-American flags in this book :
Bizier, H.-A. and C. Paulette, Fleur de lys : d'hier a aujourd'hui, Montreal: Art Global, 1997.

The Franco-American flag with a fleur-de-lis within a white star is the flag of the Assemblée des francophones du Nord-Est who adopted it in 1983. The blue and white are taken from the flags of the U.S., Quebec, Acadia and France. The star represents the U.S. and the fleur-de-lis represents the French culture of the Franco-Americans.

In the Midwest, Franco-Americans adopted a version of the royal banner of France (the field is very dark blue and the three fleurs de lys are gold). It reminds the French explorers who carried the royal arms during their travel in North America. The flag is known as drapeau de (flag of) Marquette, one of the discoverers of the Mississippi and symbolizes the ancientness of the French presence. It was adopted in 1984 by the Alliance franco-américaine du Midwest that regroups the Franco-Americans of the twelve states of the region.

A last Franco-American flag is the flag of Le Club Français, an association of the St-John Valley in Maine that wants to promote the use of French in the region to reverse the assimilation process. The flag was spotted by Chris Pinette last summer. I suppose that the elements on the flag (which uses the Cajun pattern), a tree, a fleur-de-lis and a yellow star, represent Maine, Quebec and Acadia. The Club has a web page : www.clubfrancais.org/
Luc-Vartan Baronian, 21 January 1998


New England Franco-Americans

[New England Franco-American flag] image by Robert Couturier

This flag was designed by my uncle Robert Couturier. This flag is comprised of a white star with an embossed fleur-de-lys. I have the one of the actual flags in my room here at Acadia if you are interested in seeing it – it is one of the few that was made.
Marc Couturier, 26 February 2002

The flag was actually adopted by the Franco-Americans of all the North East, including New England at the Mackinac Conference of 1983 of ACFAN (Association Canadienne-français de l’Amérique du nord), which was, at that time, the most representative of all the Franco-American associations and the largest umbrella under which Franco-American organizations gathered. It was designed as a flag to represent the francophones of all the Northeast, not including the francophones of the former Louisiana Territory, who are represented by the French tri-fleur de lysée. This flag was designed by a lawyer in Maine by the name of Robert Couturier. His family continues to promote the flag.
David-Roger Gagnon, 12 July 2022

Although the star represents both the US and the Acadian populations in the Northeast, it should be noted that there was some strong protest from Acadian populations in the Northeast that the star was white, with no hint of the yellow star of Acadie. «They bleached our star» was one article’s title in a few Acadian publications of the time. Some have recommended that a yellow star could reside within the white star, still leaving room for the fleur-de-lys, but no official effort was made to create this «revised version» after the Mackinac Conference of 1983 accepted this as the official flag of the Franco-Americans of the Northeast.
David-Roger Gagnon, 31 July 2023


French Communities in Maine

Saint John Valley Franco-Americans
[St-John Valley Franco-American flag] image by Jan Oskar Engene

St. John the Baptist Union
[French Maine flag] image by Dave Martucci

There are two distinct Franco-American communities in Maine - those who live in "The Valley" (the Saint John River valley that makes up Maine's northern border with Canada) and those who live in the city of Lewiston and its environs (in Central Maine).

In "The Valley" (which is located in "The County"), some 85-90% of the people are of French descent and French is spoken and heard more frequently than English. These people mainly claim descent from the Acadians and frequently fly the Acadian Flag (French tricolor with a gold star on the blue stripe in the upper hoist). If you go to Frenchville, Madawaska, St. Agathe and other strictly French communities along the border, the Acadia Flag is seen more often than the Maine State Flag.

In the Lewiston area, about 45% of the people are of French descent, originally from Quebec to work in the mills. French is barely heard in this area but there is a strong Franco-American community with festivals and societies dedicated to the preservation of the French culture. The most often seen French flag here is that of the St. John the Baptist Union, a Franco-American organization (except during the Bastille Celebration). It consists of a white flag with a blue cross throughout, upon which are six stars and in each quarter on the white there is, in the 1st and 4th, a blue fleur-de-lis and, in the 2nd and 3rd, a green maple leaf.

This flag was designed by Brother Gerard Brassard, a noted American heraldic artist and author of a book on the heraldry of the Roman Catholic Church in America. The flag first appeared in June 1978 and was carried by Franco-American pilgrims traveling to France. The blue cross on white is an inversion of the traditional flag of France, and it bears six stars representing the six states of New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island), where most of the Franco-Americans live. The St. John the Baptist Union has its headquarters in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The origins of Franco-Americans in France and Canada are symbolized by the fleur-de-lis and the maple leaf.
Dave Martucci, 8 September 1996


Acadians in New England

[Acadians in New England] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 26 April 2016

On this page: http://www.wquercus.com/acadie/flag.htm a flag for the Acadians in New England is presented. It was adopted at the Congrès mondial de l'Acadie at Grand Pré in 2004 and its design is inspired by those of the flag of Acadians in Canada and of the flag of Acadiana region in Louisiana while the pine tree clearly stands for New England.
Tomislav Todorovic, 26 April 2016


Midwest Franco-Americans

[Midwest Franco-American flag] image by Jan Oskar Engene


 
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