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Father Marquette National Memorial expanded to focus on Anishinaabe influence

ST. IGNACE — A ceremony to embrace and celebrate the expansion of the Father Marquette National Memorial in St. Ignace was held Monday afternoon.

Father Jacques Marquette founded St. Ignace in 1671. A few years earlier in 1668 he founded Sault Ste. Marie.

The memorial was first established in 1976 and is one of 18 public monuments dedicated to the Jesuit missionary.


This expansion, called “Gchi Mshiikenh Deh Minising,” or “Heart of the Great Turtle Island,” re-centers the narrative around the thriving Anishinaabe people and cultures whose history provides context for Father Marquette’s experiences in the region.

Four state Native American tribes were represented, along with DNR officials and the general public.

“It takes a big collaboration to make this come together. It has been several years and a lot of organizations and a lot of people have put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make this be rebuilt. We look forward to this opportunity to work with the state and all agencies and tribes,” said Bridgett Sorenson, Sault Tribe – Unit 3 board of directors.

Construction on the learning commons, pow-wow ground structures and community kitchen pavilion begins this summer and will take around a year to complete.

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