Visitation for Jim Frechette
Evening, October 10.
Presented by Ed Marks
Mike Hoffman opened by asking me for my Menominee name. I answered Akinomateh. Mike said that Jim gave Ed this name. It means “He leaves traces of his passing”. I guess Jim felt I left tracks wherever I go” (audience chuckles).
I am not here because I am Menominee – I am not. I have no deep understanding of Menominee culture. Yet, Jim always said that you work with what you’ve got, you don’t have to be perfect, get the job done, produce. Jim and I connected not through intellectual or cultural understanding but through the heart. We saw things much the same way. We clicked. I worked with Jim and the Menominee Clans Committee for seven years at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point planning and creating the Menominee Clans exhibit and Menominee Clans website. Building the exhibit and kiosk did not mean that the work was done.
Being at a university means that there is a constant struggle to keep the project on track. Administrators, faculty and staff come and go over the years. What was agreeable to one person may not be a successor. The exhibit consists of 26 Clan figures carved by Jim that have been placed in the context of their natural setting. A kiosk featuring the Menominee Clans website sits in front of the exhibit and is available to all people. The website is also available on the World Wide Web and accessible to anyone with access to a computer anywhere in the world whether it is Pakistan, France or Nigeria. So if you are Menominee and are away from home, you can visit your culture on the web. The Menominee Clans Website tells the story of the Menominee Clans through photos and words. Photographs of each will be upgraded over the next few months. Menominee flute music, recorded from music documented in an old text, is played that hasn’t been heard in over 100 years. Additional stories and clan’s names spoken in Menominee are being added.
High quality reproductions of paintings of Menominee done by Catlin in the 1830’s will soon be exhibited near the Menominee Clans exhibit in the University Library. Jim felt that the paintings where a way to connect the carved Menominee Clans figures with images of real people who knew their clans.
If you want to remember Jim or honor him, he would be happy if you went to the website and read the mythology.