Dear Mr. Hallum,

All in all, you were a good 9th grade American history teacher. Your rolled up sleeves and goatee helped us lower our defenses. You tried hard to relate to students with high-fives and slang. When you got busted for getting drunk while chaperoning our junior prom, we all thought you were badass.

What I don’t understand is how you overlooked all the cool parts of US history in favor of defining things like bicameral legislature for months. How is it that I do not know what the whiskey rebellion was? What I find particularly egregious, after having lived in Montreal for six years and still not finding out about it, are your omissions when covering immigration. Perhaps it’s a New England thing, but the Irish in Boston does not constitute a comprehensive survey.

A suggestion: dig back to the French and Indian war, and teach the kids about another kind of Great Upheaval in which the Acadians of Canada were forcefully moved to present-day Louisiana. Sure it has much to do with Canadian history, but it established a new population in land that would eventually become the United States.

What’s more, they brought with them a strong culture, born in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces 400 years ago, that is still prevalent today in the Cajun community of Louisiana. Take the Bayou Bugaloo music festival, where I saw BeauSoleil sing in french about roux and étouffé, the zydeco descendant of the jigs and reels of a cabane à sucre.

More importantly, take restaurants like Cochon in New Orleans, where I was reminded at every turn of rural eastern Canada, only with much hotter weather. Read the rest of this entry »