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This volume of papers emanating from the 23rd Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society (FCHS) in Midland, Ontario (1997), constitutes the first volume of the new journal published by the Society. With the introduction of French Colonial History, the Society commits to publish an annual volume of refereed, scholarly articles selected from papers given at the annual FCHS meetings, though not necessarily from a single meeting. The new paperbackjournal will appear with punctuality and regularity —characteristics that were, at times, difficult to sustain with the Proceedings format. With the adoption of the journal approach, the editor will have more latitude to achieve thematic unity in each volume than was possible with the Proceedings. Pan of the process of transforming our annual publication into a journal was the formal establishment of a distinguished editorial board. The Executive Board of the FCHS, its editors, and the staff of our publisher, Michigan State University Press, all agree that the journal format reflects a stature that is in keeping with the quality of scholarship produced under the auspices of the Society. This exciting initiative owes much to the cooperation and enthusiasm of Fred Böhm of Michigan State University Press. The publication of the 1995 Proceedings (from the meeting at Sydney and Louisbourg in Nova Scotia) marked the beginning of the Society's partnership with MSU Press. Since then, Fred and his colleagues have been unfailingly supportive of the Society's enterprise and have joined constructively in the search for improvements in our annual publication. The volumes published by MSU Press are unmatched in their quality of production. The willingness and encouragement of the Press have made possible the transition to this newjournal, French Colonial History. One of the many attractions of the Society's annual meetings is the exposure they provide to French overseas encounters in diverse regions of the world, and to a wide representation of historical methods and approaches. The viiiFrench Colonial History meetings provide a refreshing vista that serves as an antidote to the danger of myopic specialization. They stimulate useful comparative insights. The 23rd Annual Meeting in Midland, Ontario, in May 1997, was no exception. As with all annual meetings of the Society, a special theme was suggested in the call for papers, but not with the intention of excluding papers on other themes of French colonial history. In keeping with the earlyJesuit contact with the Hurons in the area, the suggested theme at Midland was French relations with indigenous peoples. The response—as indicated by the selection of papers included in this first volume of French Colonial History—produced a variety ofpresentations on this theme, spanning a period of400 years in Africa and the Americas. All papers, including those not directly linked to relations with indigenous peoples, inquire into differing aspects of the French mental universe in its colonial adventure. At the end of the volume is a list of those papers not included in these Proceedings, some of which are destined for publication elsewhere. In addition, conference participants were treated to a number ofsocial and cultural excursions in the Midland-Penetanguishene area: visits to the reconstructed seventeenth-century Jesuit mission of Sainte-Marie-among-theHurons ; the Martyrs' Shrine; the Huronia Museum and Huron Indian Village; and a barbeque boat tour among the Thousand Islands on Georgian Bay. Visiting historic sites of French colonial significance is one of the attractions of the Society's annual meetings. Finally, as this new journal takes shape, I would like to thank the many readers and assessors who reviewed the manuscripts submitted for this volume . To Keith Widder of MSU Press, a longstanding member of the Society, I owe a special debt for his work in producing this volume and for his patience and unfailing good cheer in the face of delays for which he was not responsible . A special thanks is also due to Kathryn Köhler for the French translations of some of the abstracts of the papers in this volume and to Anne Meyering, associate professor of history at Michigan State University, for her help in launching this series. S. Dale Standen, Editor Trent University Peterborough, Ontario ...


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