MARQUETTE – One of the highlights of this year’s Fresh Coast Film Festival explores the relationship between Father Jacques Marquette and the Native American peoples of the region in the film “The return.”
Marquette-based artist and filmmaker Makari Rising’s documentary focuses on the long history involving the remains of Father Marquette, which were eventually returned to Saint-Ignace, a town founded by the 17th-century French Jesuit missionary and the place Marquette requested to be her final resting place. square.
“I heard about Father Marquette when I was young. I have looked at the statue (of Father Marquette) in downtown Marquette all my life, living on these shores, with the town of Marquette at my feet,” Rising said. “(The film) is basically trying to hear the whole story of Marquette. To spread it so that others can better appreciate not only Father Marquette’s work, but also the people he served.
The long and complicated story of Father Marquette’s remains begins with his death in 1675 in present-day Illinois.
“On his last trip, Marquette was on a mission with the Illinois in what is now Chicago. On his way home he died of dysentery on the shores of Lake Michigan near present-day Ludington. Marquette told his comrades that he would have liked to go back to Saint-Ignace. Rising said. “Two years later a large retinue of Anishinabeg descended and honorably recovered his bones to escort him to St. Ignace.”
For nearly 200 years Marquette’s remains remained in Saint-Ignace until they were dug up due to the encroachment of the area.
“The demographics changed and the mission church was overgrown,” Rising said. “The great-great-great-grandfather of one of the film’s subjects dug up the remains in 1877.”
The remains were then transported to Wisconsin, where they remained until earlier this year.
“They went to Marquette University because the local pastor didn’t know what to do with them,” Rising said. “We don’t know why they were taken, but last year in March the delegation of elders came down and received the remains to take him home to be buried again at his burial place. original.”
While the film focuses on the return of the remains to St. Ignace, the real heart of the story revolves around the relationship between Father Marquette and the Native American peoples he spent so much time with.
“Father Marquette originally had a whole flotilla of Native Americans who came to receive his bones”, Rising said. “Two hundred miles south to bring it home and now, 200 years later, these current descendants. It stifles any kind of notion of cultural depreciation. The person Father Marquette resonated so deeply with Native Americans that they always wanted to honor his last wish.
“The return” will be performed twice over the weekend, with both performances attended by representatives of the delegation that returned Marquette’s remains to their final resting place.
The first screening is today at 10 a.m. in the Community Room at the Peter White Public Library. The second screening is on Sundays in the Blue Room of the Masonic Building at 10 a.m.