Mark Paul Richard, a Lewiston native, has written a book, “Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States,” that offers a new perspective on how immigrants become Americanized.

He challenges prevailing notions of assimilation, believing that “acculturation” better describes the roundabout way some ethnic groups join their host society.

Richard maintains that for more than a century, French-Canadians in Lewiston worked to achieve both ethnic preservation and acculturation – and that these are not separate goals but rather intertwined processes.

Underscored with statistics compiled by Richard, “Loyal but French,” portrays the French-Canadian history of Lewiston, from the 1880s through the 1990s, in this light.

“In focusing on Lewiston … Richard carries previous studies forward to the present,” wrote C. Stewart Doty, professor emeritus of history at the University of Maine. “Lewiston Franco-Americans neither retained survivance nor yielded to assimilation. Rather, they accomplished acculturation, successfully retaining their mother tongue while actively participating in American politics and institutions. This splendid and mature work will be the standard study of Franco-Americans for a long time.”

“Loyal but French,” a 388-page paperback, was published by Michigan State University Press.

Richard is currently coordinator of the Canadian Studies program at the State University of New York – Plattsburgh, as well as associate professor of history and Canadian studies.


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