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Starting in the 17th century, French explorers were wandering all over the Midwest looking for navigable rivers, lucrative trading resources, and native people to convert to Christianity. This exhibition from the Newberry Library in Chicago tells the story of French Canadians in the Midwest via maps, prints, and a range of other wonderful ephemera. The materials are divided into six primary sections, including Kaskaskia, Bourbonnais, Emigration to Chicago, and Language. This last area is fabulous as visitors can look at pages of historical documents discussing the French presence in the region and how their interactions with Native Americans were informed by their own linguistic exchanges. The Father Chiniquy area is another gem, as it provides information about this most interesting priest who toured the East Coast in order to fund his work with "starving French Canadian converts.â
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