It’s acknowledged as Canada’s first Christmas carol.
Aside: This raises the obvious question of whether there are other Canadian Christmas carols. My quick Google search confirms my impression: No. Not, at least, in English. Lots of French-language Christmas music certainly exists, sacred and secular, and might include carols for all I know.
I found Canadian songs about winter (and did not see that coming): Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s Night, for example. I even found a few about Christmas (like Jimmy Rankin’s Tinsel Town), but none that I could identify as catchy holiday standards or songs that might be sung in church.
There are lots of versions on YouTube:
Tom Jackson, a Métis Canadian singing in English
Heather Dale, singing it in three languages (Wendat [Huron], French, and English)
Keith Cormier, singing in Mi’kmaq to honour his late grandmother who was Aboriginal but kept this fact from her children and grandchildren
In looking into this, I stumbled over a discussion of whether the song was racist for perpetuating stereotypes about indigenous people. It certainly inserts Algonquian terminology (Gitchi Manitou) into a Huron song. Again, that’s in English. Here’s a link to a more accurate (but less singable) translation of the original lyrics, which certainly suggests that de Brébeuf used images and concepts appropriate to the Huron people: The changes have come through translation for different communities (first into French, then into English).
This post marks another milestone:
the start of the final 25 in this series of 150 National Treasures.
Sharing is good . . .