Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mystery of Champlain

The CBC's documentary The Mystery of Champlain? A pretty entertaining hour, I thought, though I may be biased, since the program had a good deal more of my head talking than I had expected to see. It ran last night, and will go again on Sunday -- details from the link above.

When the interviewers asked me about Champlain being the son of Henri IV, and then when the promotional material in the press played up that angle, I rather feared the worst. But in fact they handled the uncertainties of Champlain's birth as they handled most things -- fast, lively, and really quite judicious.

One regret -- I thought I talked to them quite a bit about Champlain's alliances with the First Nations. It is hard to make much sense of his accomplishments without sorting that out. But in the program? Nada. For a Canadian program, it was rather the "looking at Canada from France" viewpoint rather than one "looking at Champlain from here." We do still have a hard time integrating the first Canadians into Canadian history, I guess.

Also: word out about Champlain's Dream, a big biography this fall of Champlain by the American historian David Hackett Fischer.
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