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More on Pilgrimage–but with ties to tourism and the source of the Mississippi

June 3, 2013

Buffalo Doug

Art Remillard has contributed a chapter to a new book on religion and the Mississippi River. His focus is on Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi.

In his reflections about his project, he notes the close connection of tourism  and pilgrimage to a place such as Lake Itasca:

In Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture, anthropologists Victor and Edith Turner identify the traces of religious activity in secular travel, writing “a tourist is half a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist.” Commenting on the American bicentennial, the authors discuss how millions of people had traveled to national parks and forests, both for recreation and “to renew love of land and country.”

While Itasca’s traveler-pilgrims weren’t talking much about national identity, they did use religious language to translate their accomplishments and transformations. One bicyclist, for example, finished at Itasca and remarked, “On the outside I may…

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