Last week the National Historic Site of Grand-Pré inched closer to receiving a World UNESCO Heritage Site designation. On January 21st, with all three levels of government present which includes Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Peter Kent, the Minister of the Environment whom is also responsible for Parks Canada. They completed the final proposal for the nomination and the members of government all signed letter of support to help the process along. If approved, it will the third World UNESCO Heritage Site in Nova Scotia, behind The Town of Lunenburg and Joggins’ Fossil Cliffs and it would be the first World UNESCO Heritage Site dedicated to the Acadians. Now all we have to do is wait 18 months to see if the United Nations will approve the designation.
This nomination is a big deal to the French Acadians in Nova Scotia, mainly because it does not just focuses on their cultural history and the deportation of 1755 as so many people tend to do when they think about Grand-Pré. It’s because it focuses on something more positive; the contribution that the Acadian made with building their dykelands in the area of Grand-Pré and the agricultural value it has brought to history of agricultural technology worldwide.
I believe their is also an additional benefit to celebrating Acadian history in Nova Scotia. It shows the example that it is possible for both individuals and communities from two different cultures who share a very difficult history, can move past their differences and come to live together peacefully side by side as we have all done here in Nova Scotia. It should really be set as an example for the world to see. When you go to Grand-Pré, you should not just look at it from the prospective of the injustices suffered by the Acadian people in the past but rather look how far we’ve been able to move forward together as a province in creating a better society which their is room for all of us. Personally, those are the reasons why I hope Grand-Pré will be designated a World UNESCO Heritage Site.