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カテゴリ:22.Québec again( 2 )
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (54)

by tetsu95jp | 2008-02-06 06:30 | 22.Québec again
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (53)
Driving on the left bank of St. Lawrence River, I noticed that rather this side than the opposite side should be appropriate to follow the footsteps of the pioneers from Europe, because I found quite a few farm lands along the bank line. The clearly mowed field continues until over Québec City, as if the ancestors couldn't be satisfied with the untamed land. The streets and houses of towns, a roof or a porch or a backyard sometimes created mysterious poesy.


Arriving at Québec City, I was at a loss for what to see for it was completely made up for sightseeing. Especially in the Vieux-Québec, every place was full of tourists (interestingly many of them were from France) and showed every one of us formal smiles. Having visited a high-class Japanese restaurant, a Chinese chef offered me a better Sushi at least than that of the Japanese chef in Halifax. It was so boring that I asked at a visitor information centre where the poorest area in this historic immigrants' city is. An officer curiously enquired who I am, but told me that down the slope to the West should be the poorest. However, the area was also well-organised without any disorders; I didn't think it looked particularly poor. In short, this city was rich for its historical background.
I continued to ascribe the left bank of St. lawrence River. In successive farm lands I passed several villages; among them, a restaurant caught my eyes for its unfamiliar structure; it looked a cafe, but something very plane without loud ornaments and signs. As I focused on it in backlight, probably from inside I was seen so well that a couple of old guys pushed the door open and approached me with smiles. "What are you doing?" Maybe he said so in French. I explained in English honestly pointing at the building. They seemed to understand, and invited me inside.
Over the line-upped customers of counter, a woman was busily working giving me a smily smile. Slant behind was not a few box seats. Sitting at the counter, I gathered everybody's look for my Oriental figure. They seemed to know each other. A man over there was called to my place for he could speak English well. He said this is a gathering place for nearby farmers. They make it a rule to come here without any business. So this place is sometimes cafe, sometimes restaurant and sometimes bar. I understand why it was so plane; it has a role as public space.
I asked for a cup of coffee. It tasted warm taste. I was going back to my car to bring a tobacco, when the man offered me his. Yes, smoking was permitted there. They wanted to know about my travel. So frank and open-minded were they that I straightly said what I want is something between Indians and immigrants. And I asked, "Why doesn't this region have any First Nations?" They didn't make faces and didn't try to avoid the subject, rather the man replied seriously, "They used to live around here, but our ancestors expelled them away." He admitted their ancestor's fault surprisingly honestly; maybe because they've become happy enough to look back, but I've never heard of such words from British descendants.
"Do you know where the descendants of expelled Indians are now? Are there any 'reserves' for them?" They didn't know at all, but the other man mentioned something associated with this with twisted face. They seemed to feel guilty for their ancestors' activity at heart. I was happy staying with such honest people. At last, the man encouraged me to succeed in my research in trip. Seeing people like this, I felt like I understood why French people could produce Metis generations marrying Indians. Actually 'Metis' means every half between Indian and European, though French Metis overwhelm British Metis. This way, my interest in how Québec treats First Nations became larger.


What I first noticed in Montréal was that the Black people were quite common and that with fashionable wears. In the East Coast, I saw Black at Halifax but rather they were rather minority. The way of fashion of the Black in Montréal looked quite different from that of American, maybe many of them came here via France.
A young hostel man managed to speak English on the phone, but he was not helpful enough as a stranger could reach there; somewhat this rigid therefore slow attitude was common in the East Coast; if I had been in the West Coast, they should have helped out by all means. However, I was surprised finding the hostel man was a good guy when finally I got there.
Though I was told from my immigration consultant that Montréal has beautiful old streets and houses, which came from France, I didn't think it deserves to make much of as he said; I had already observed a lot of European buildings with streets in the East Coast cities. Having strolled around the downtown of Montréal and its busy international people, I had to think what's the difference from Downtown Vancouver.
There were no aboriginal people's sources available in town and at last again I had to go to the visitor information centre, which maybe the best quality and quantity tourism information facility in Canada. I lost words to speak out for a bilingual stuff offered me next to next brochures and booklets for aboriginal peoples and for what not. The data of the people were completely organised for the sake of tourism. He said if I visit them it is good for their business too. That's true; however, I thought the introductions of First Nations made by a government and what is more for tourists is not necessarily credible enough. Even in Japan, we were taught in schools that violence on Chinese people during World War Two less significantly with hiding away important matters for them.
I asked the hostel guy if he knew any place Indians resides. He showed two places on the Montréal map; both of them are located outside of the Montréal Island on the right bank of St. Lawrence River and the left bank each. One of which was not on the maps of the government-issued sightseeing maps. The French descendant guy said I shouldn't go there because there have been the conflict between Québec people and the people there and he said they behave badly toward the others. As I explained my stance as a Japanese should offend them, he agreed saying, "Yah, you are coloured..."
Visiting Kahnawake, even though it was introduced as a Mohawks Nations, they asserted "5 Nations" consisted of 5 Iroquoian (Huron-Wendats and Mohawks) tribes and had had a magnificent interpretation centre. Asking for an explanation on its history to a young female officer, she replied she came from Alberta so didn't know at all. And then an elder man replaced with her, who looked like a White by appearance. What I felt there was that their heritage was now completely for sightseeing's sake. Other than that facility, 'Native Tobacco' signs were to be seen in the town and people there looked having much time chatting on the streets.
Next I visited Oka, which was not on the aboriginal population map. On it was mentioned as 'Parc national d'Oka' instead of an Aboriginal Nations mark. I heard the community locates along the route 344, but it didn't appear. I asked for information on the way to the local boys. The White boys managed to understand my English and said it's upwards of the slope.
Both sides of the road begins cedar woods and soon hand-written signs of 'Native Tobacco' were to be seen with shanties. In front of one of them I parked my car, but there was no person in a shanty. Then a carpenter-like White man working on another shanty behind approached me. He said they produce and sell tobacco by themselves. They had several kinds and that both in Canadian taste and in American taste; the prices were quite cheap. He said Canadian taste is better, but I said I prefer American. Having tried both of them, I couldn't feel a big difference, but it was definitely natural as they claimed on the packages.
As I bought two cartons of 'Native Lights,' an old lady returned and handed the guy a bag of convenient food. She sat at a table outside and began to have French Fry. I wondered if it was her dinner; to such an extent, she looked poor. I introduced myself and asked several questions to her. She was quiet, though her English was perfect. She said that their group didn't speak French and that English was their main language.
According to her, Québec government haven't recognised them as Aboriginal Nations yet; even though they have been residing there from old age, the French descendants frequently deprive them of their properties; just recently, for example, the Québec people cut the cedar trees within their place to sell. Having heard of this reminded me of that Beothuk people used to steal properties from British people in Newfoundland. It is vice versa, and the vicious circle was still continuing even now on!
A long history of French residing might be having aboriginal people assimilate with them; however, on the other hand, due to the unclear attitude toward them as having no reserves there is still existing people suffering from poverty after deprived of their land and resources by others' greedy economic activities. Of course, I don't think the other provinces' way of confining them within isolated small areas is a better way. Nevertheless, I can't help thinking why Canada haven't paid more respects for elders.
I wanted the Oka's history (Mohawks) from her, but she said they were not taught such things. I couldn't focus on her with my camera; what's the sake of taking pictures of such a miserable life? I was merely sad with her surrounded by the affluent Montréal region, and wanted to share that sadness and aches with her.
Going ahead along the lined-up 'Native Tobacco' signs, once-in-a-lifetime sunset scene were spreading out behind the shacks. Taking pictures of it, I felt like I am realising of what Canada is. Halifax, Québec City, Montréal, travels in major cities were boring; I was thinking I might not need to spend much time in incoming big cities.


by tetsu95jp | 2008-02-05 03:05 | 22.Québec again