POUNDER DANGLING ON DUQESNE ISLAND
The Neddeau family have lived on remote Duqesne Island in northern Ontario since the 1700s, when their Acadian ancestors, brothers Elwood and Ellis, were left there by a mutineering band of explorers. The current family members are Bichon (father and fourth-generation Duqesnian), ’Vangeline (mother and lapsed Catholic from PEI), Elmer (the naïve and sexually frustrated teenaged son) and Eloida and Elène (twin preteen daughters who run around the island and torment their brother). In the CBC documentary series The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island we follow the family through their daily activities, which include a lot of potatoes, a lengthy list of rules that prohibit “pounder dangling” and “mince pickling,” along with their requisite punishments like having water poured down the sleeves of one’s raincoat, and religious rituals that call upon one of their ancestors who seems to have become a saint. The Neddeaus speak with heavy accents (subtitles are provided) and their English is sprinkled with French words plus some words that must be unique to this tiny settlement. According to the CBC Media Centre, The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island was made in the 1970s but was never released, and the oldfashioned CBC logo, plus the soothing voice of the series’s narrator and the traditional fiddle music that opens and closes each episode, certainly attest to that. In a promo video, famous Canadians such as David Suzuki, Graham Greene and even Jean Chrétien talk about when they first saw or heard of this quirky documentary and speculate on why it may have been suppressed. Was the family in the documentary just too weird (or perhaps, feral) for mainstream Canada, or were there hints of incest in the documentary (the son is obviously sexually frustrated)? Whatever your opinion is, you won’t be able to stop watching, because The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island might just be too quirky to be real.