Students say Marquette seal 'erases the truth.' Conservative prof disagrees.

  • Student activists are pressuring Marquette University to remove Father Marquette from the college’s seal for more emphasis on Native Americans.
  • Proponents of wiping Father Marquette from the seal claim it is to further the “truth."
  • A conservative professor voiced his opposition to the seal change stating the depiction is accurate.

Amid the recent wave of cancel culture, Marquette University faces pressure to remove Father Jacques Marquette, a French-Canadian explorer, from the college’s official seal, in favor of more emphasis on Native Americans. 

The removal campaign, started by Marquette senior Amanda Harris, argued in a July petition that the university principles of promoting “a more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive campus community” does not align with the depiction of Father Marquette on the seal. 

"The painting shows a Native American person giving Father Marquette directions. The image in the seal shows the complete opposite."   

The petition states that “by cropping the original painting, the narrative of the Native American person is erased.” 

The seal itself is based on the 1869 painting “Father Marquette and the Indians” by German artist Wilhelm Alfred Lamprecht depicting him meeting Native Americans during his expedition of the Mississippi River Valley. 

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The university’s seal is a version of the painting cropped on the bottom, displaying only Marquette pointing and a Native American in rowing position. Harris states this erase another Native American giving directions to Marquette. 

“By cropping out this Native American person from the seal, it is erasing the truth. The painting shows a Native American person giving Father Marquette directions. The image in the seal shows the complete opposite,” the petition stated.

According to the Marquette Wire, the Native American Student Association approached the Board of Trustees in 2017 with a new design, but it remained the same. Then, in 2018, Campus Reform reported that Marquette students and faculty members deemed the seal a "microaggression."

[RELATED: University at Buffalo scraps US President Millard Fillmore's name from building]

Native American Student Association President Alex Libertao told the Marquette Wire that the current seal depicts the stereotypical “uncivilized Indian."

Marquette political science professor John McAdams, in contrast to Harris’ motives to alter the seal, said the depiction of Marquette and the Native Americans is accurate. 

“It’s really an admission that they can’t actually do anything to better the position of Indian students. So, in order to claim to be relevant, and pretend to be important, they bully Marquette over the seal,” McAdams in an email Campus Reform.  

Marquette University officials and the Board of Trustees are currently considering what, if any, action to take in response to the petition.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @fergusonmjames 



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James Ferguson
James Ferguson | Virginia Campus Correspondent

James Ferguson is a Virginia Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform. He is a student at Northern Virginia Community College where he studies Political Science. James was a Senator in the NOVA Loudoun Student Government from 2018-2019, served as Treasurer of the Business Club from 2019-2020 and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

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