Despite their position between warring French and British empires, European settlers in the Maritimes eventually developed from a migrant community into a distinctive Acadian society. From Migrant to Acadian is a comprehensive narrative history of how the Acadian community came into being. Acadian culture not only survived, despite attempts to extinguish it, but developed into a complex society with a unique identity and traditions that still exist in present day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

N.E.S. Griffiths uses the results of forty-five years of archival research in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy to place Acadian history in the context of contemporary North American and European events. She emphasizes relationships with the Mi'kmaq, showing they were of crucial importance in the development of Acadian identity, land-holding practices, settlement patterns, religious beliefs, and family structure. From Migrant to Acadian also explains how the imperial ambitions of both the French and the British collided with the strong belief of the Acadians in their own identity, resulting in the tragic deportation of the majority of the Acadian community in 1755. Although never achieving political independence, the Acadians forged a connection with Canada's broader national identity and continue to play a significant role in the Canadian mosaic. (Publisher summary)