To understand the place that the French language and Francophone cultures occupy in Alberta today, you must dissociate them from traditional notions of ethnicity. French was the language of people from Canada, Alberta, and from around the world. This “People’s History of French in Alberta” approach requires an understanding of its speakers, both those who were born into a French setting and those who chose one. These French-speakers over time have included Indigenous peoples, settlers, migrants and immigrants. It also requires an understanding of the environmental, social, political, cultural, and economic forces that acted upon language and culture through the years, the strategies of resistance against those forces, and the ultimate impact of those strategies over time.
Denis Perreaux grew up in Saskatchewan and has lived in Alberta for the last 30 years. He has a BSc in biology and an MA in history (2001) from the University of Alberta. Since 2000, his career has taken him from the federal government to the Association Canadienne-Française de l’Alberta and to his current position, as director general of the Société Historique Francophone de l’Alberta, where he has been applying his strategic, administrative and history-related skills since 2014.