The February Island Studies Lecture was Thursday, February 23, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus, featuring Island historian Georges Arsenault, speaking about connections between Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands. Arsenault has explored links going as far back as 250 years to the pre-Deportation years when Islanders sailed to the Maggies to participate in the walrus hunt.
In more recent times, when the Magdalen Islands were part of the Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown, many PEI priests served in the Maggies while priests from there were posted in Island parishes. Later, over 30 young Acadian women from the Island studied at the Havre-aux-Maisons Normal School and came back home to teach, mainly in Acadian schools. Since the early 1900s, young people from the Maggies have been coming to work and study on the Island. In the last decade or so, the PEI Acadian and Francophone community has cooperated with the Magdalen Islands to develop projects in both the cultural and economic fields. Arsenault explored the many connections that have been forged over the centuries between these insular communities.
A native of Abram-Village, Georges Arsenault lives in Charlottetown. He is the author of many publications on Acadian history and folklore and a well-known lecturer. He is the president of the Sister Antoinette DesRoches Historical Society. Georges was recently made a member of the Order of Canada.