Challenges Faced By Francophone People In Maintaing Their Culture and Identity and Being Recognized As A Collective Group?
Interview With Claudette Roy
Interviewer: What did you think about Francophone people maintaing their culture and identity? What were some challenges they faced? What was the challenge for Francophone people being recognized as a collective group?
Claudette Roy: It's one thing to have a right and it's another to access that right. In 1982, the rights in section 23 were new to us. So the first step was understanding what the right granted us. Then, we had to educate others about what the right meant: that Francophone in Alberta could establish French first-language schools for themselves, distinct from other schools. This was the same right the English minority in Québec had since confederation.
For Francophone students to become contributing members of our community and the world, they need to learn in their first language, and in an environment that supports their identity. They need to learn from other Francophones and hear the stories - learn the stories. Not just so they can retell the stories, but so they can create with them, and find new ways of being Francophone.
People in the majority don't have to think about what supports their identity. The supports are just there. But they aren't "just there" for us.
When you're a Francophone in a minority place, the English-speaking world is all over you. If you don't pay attention, you can become assimilated. Francophone schools make you aware that you have a choice. If you want to remain Francophone, it's a decision. You have to make it consciously and often.
Interviewer: I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these few questions!
Claudette Roy: It was my pleasure!