January 23, 2010

Under These Same Stars

‘Under These Same Stars’ is a true homegrown film

By Brent StewartBased on a true story from 1773, "Under These Same Stars--The Céladon Affair," was filmed in the spring in the historic homes of Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Ste. Genevieve, Mo., and at other rural locations across Southern Illinois. It's a little-known historical event that was quite a controversy in its day.

"Under These Same Stars" is the story of Céladon, a mixed-race hunter who falls in love with a Native American slave woman but can't get her to run away into the wilderness with him. Céladon convinces another slave girl, who was the favorite of British soldiers, to run away with him. The girl ends up dead under mysterious circumstances, which causes something of an international incident between the French and British colonists of the area.

The incident was documented by historian Carl Ekberg, in his book, "Stealing Indian Women," on which the movie is based.
Love, Murder, Slavery in Colonial Ste. Gen! Film Screening at Historical Museum

By Aimee LevittThe film is based on Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country, a scholarly work by Carl J. Ekberg, a professor emeritus at Illinois State University who has devoted most of his academic career to studying the "Creole Corridor" in the colonial-era Mississippi Valley.And:About 25 years ago in a Ste. Genevieve courthouse, Ekberg stumbled upon a pile of legal documents concerning the investigation into the death of a Native American slave woman. The chief suspect was a métis, or mixed-race, hunter named Céledon. Ekberg remembers a passing interest at the time, but he didn't decide to write about the case until a few years ago when he discovered duplicates of the same documents in Seville, Spain. (Between 1763 and 1800, the Louisiana Territory was actually part of Spain.)Comment:  Checking out the official website, it's not clear if Under These Same Stars has any Native actors or input. The source book is Stealing Indian Women, but the Indian slave seems to be a minor character in this story.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

"Allie Stevens as Lissette Morgan, the native British slave."

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