In effect, if in Acadia, mixed marriages were common occurences since 1610, in New France on the other hand, one can count only seven such marriages under the regime of the Hundred Associates, that is from 1627 to 1663. There was no question of racism; from the very beginning, French and Indian fraternized under the watchful eye of the missionaries. French politics was to assimilate the Indian, and since the mixing of races is the best method, the little Indian girls were placed in the Ursulines convent with the goal of training them into good spouses for the colonists; such was the first wife of Pierre Boucher.
However, the children of Nature did not support the cloistered life and the strict discipline of the French school; the little school children failed, some died; others escaped to never return. In addition, the condition of the French woman was not envied by the young Indian maiden; she had more freedom in her clan. The union of Pierre and Marie benefited from favorable circumstances; the tragic times at Trois-Rivières brought the French and the Indians closer together since the thirty remaining families were grouped into the fort; Pierre learned algonquin. Every member is catholic since the clan of Pachiniri had been duly catechized by the brave Father Buteux. Pierre was close to thirty years old, Marie was an orphan...thus began the adventure. It would not have necessarily led to marriage in other circumstances, but under the firm hand of the Jesuits, it was very difficult for anyone in the village to have an illicit union; in addition, Marie was pregnant, therefore why not set up a home with the general benediction? In any case, Pierre's character would fit in; at the end of his contract, he could have, like others of his age, sought adventure and find his means of livelihood in beaver hunting. Trois-Rivières was still the capital of the trading post, and now since there was a truce, one was able, if not to make a fortune, at least to have a comfortable existence dealing in commerce. However, Pierre Couc preferred to settle down; a peasant heritage pushed him to plant roots in this little corner of the world, to clear land, to cultivate despite the permanent threat of the Iroquois, to found a family line and perhaps to insure an honorable place for his children in the social ladder; in addition the government encouraged the establishment of soldiers and mixed marriages by giving subsidies and compensations to settlers.
Translated by Norm Léveillée, December 2000.
Reprinted with permission:
"Bonjour M. Léveillée, Vous avez la permission de traduire et d'utiliser l'article en mentionnant la source et la référence. Micheline Perreault Directrice générale" Email 12/18/2000http://www.sgcf.com/index.html