Photo Source: Margaret Savard
Map Source: US Census Bureau - Wikimedia
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The Cajuns, also known as Acadians are a distinct ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting in part of the descendants of the original Acadian exiles — French-speakers from Acadia (L 'Acadie) in what are now the Maritimes of Eastern Canada. In Louisiana, Acadian and Cajun are often used as broad cultural terms without reference to actual descent from the deported Acadians. Today, the Cajuns make up a significant portion of south Louisiana's population and have exerted an enormous impact on the state's culture. While Lower Louisiana had been settled by French colonists since the late 17th century, the Cajuns trace their roots to the influx of Acadian settlers after the Great Expulsion from their homeland during the French and British hostilities prior to the Seven Years' War (1756 to 1763). The Acadia region to which modern Cajuns trace their origin consisted largely of what are now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island plus parts of eastern Quebec and northern Maine. Since their establishment in Louisiana, the Cajuns have developed their own dialect, Cajun French, and developed a vibrant culture including folkways, music, and cuisine. The Acadiana region is heavily associated with them.
They are located throughout south Louisiana and East Texas, with the heaviest concentration being in Louisiana in a 22 parish area known as "Acadiana."
The older generations of Cajuns tend to live off the land. Some still believe heavily in folk medicines and prefer to use "Traiteurs" (a form of Creole/Cajun faith healer) instead of going to an actual healthcare provider. The older generations also speak an ancient version of French now referred to as "Louisiana French." The younger generations however, have been heavily Americanized and can generally fit into the normal American society and culture, albeit with different food customs and a dramatically different accent.
Cajuns are traditionally of the Catholic faith, a faith that has been passed down by their families for hundreds of years.