I feel sorry for Central Michigan students who will never witness their own foam-headed figure acting a fool on the field. The logo for the Eastern Michigan football team from 1976-1990, prior to its mascot name change to the Eagles in 1991. The origin of the name was presented for a variety of reasons, with one of the main intentions being an increase in showmanship and pageantry from the student body.

“Our university was improperly highlighted by the NCAA,” said Dave Heeke, CMU’s athletic director. A group of fans proposed the nickname Wildcats, because CMU’s mascot, “should be a brave-fighting mascot that once roamed the woods of Michigan.” However, some felt Wildcats was too close to Wolverine, a name the University of Michigan had made their own, so Bearcats was used instead and would stay for another 14 years.

“It is not taken lightly in any way,” Heeke said. Traditionally, the mascots I feature are Purdue football opponents. In 1989, there was a moratorium – a suspension of activity – about the use of native imagery for the Chippewa mascot. Calls made to Florida State and Utah athletic departments were not returned. “Some of the reasons were that the Bearcat means nothing. “Here at CMU, that would mean a MAC tournament game,” Whitledge said. CMU’s approach to the Chippewas nickname entails using it in a respectful and honorable manner.This respectful use of the nickname wasn’t always the case.CMU started using the Chippewas nickname in 1942 after CMU’s track and field coach Lawrence Sweeney approached the student council to request changing the nickname from the Bearcats to Chippewas. In the beginning, the Central Michigan Teaching School was without a mascot in the early 1920s. (Photo provided by Christopher Holder Photography). Although he lacks originality, he does have an over-sized head with a goofy look on his face. In 1988, the university issued a report at Eastern about the negative connotations that come with the use of it. No logos or mascots could be present during the games. Those put on the list were not selected for having done something improper, but made to stymie the outcry that had picked up over the last decade. CMU gets 1 point for the lame basketball-headed "Rowdie". ( Log Out /  “We were granted as one of the relationships that could continue and that would not be sanctioned by the NCAA in any way.”. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account.
CMU needs to grow some stones - if you chose an Indian name for your athletic teams, you need to follow up with an Indian mascot. “You saw a lot of universities using similar aggressive Native American symbols for their mascots,” Whitledge said. In 2002, Maynard Kahgegab, Jr., then chief of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and Michael Rao, president of Central Michigan University, signed a proclamation pledging their support for strengthening the relationship between the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Central Michigan University “for the enhancement of each other’s goals and visions and for the greater good of all residents of the region, state, and nation.” The proclamation included a statement of support for the university’s continued use of the Chippewas nickname. He argued that the Bearcat was too unfamiliar a mascot to provide the kind of atmosphere desired at athletic events and “the Chippewa name opens up unlimited opportunities for pageantry and showmanship.” In practice, this amounted to stereotypical imagery and mockery of Native ceremonies.The mimicking, stereotyping, and misrepresentation of Native American cultures and people are attitudes and behaviors that will not be tolerated and must be part of the past. However, the U.S. government schools he was referring to were the boarding schools, including the one just north of town. Boooo! CMU’s line coach, Lawrence “Doc” Sweeney, wanted a new name for the team that would bring about more “showmanship and pageantry.” The change of name was brought to the governing board for students – known today as the Student Government Association. “In that time the administration issued a directive prohibiting all Indian-themed imagery being used from athletic teams,” Whitledge said. After banning the spear on the helmet, CMU also investigated the use of the name Chippewas for a three-year period beginning in 1989. “At some place like Florida State or Illinois that was a really big deal. It was an idea of creating a Native American as a mascot.

Cultural misrepresentation occurs when Native American sacred objects, cultural ways of knowing, and traditions are used in a context that strips their cultural meaning.Because CMU proudly uses a nickname associated with a contemporary people, every effort is made to avoid engaging in behavior that demeans or belittles Native Americans. The two are mascots for the Seminoles, where they introduce the team by riding to midfield with a burning spear and planting it in the ground. THE MASCOT MESS As a mascot, the Chippewa name has gone through the NCAA, the Central Michigan University student body and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal council members. Sweeney had made the argument that the name Chippewa is geographically correct, since at one time the Chippewa Indian Tribes were scattered around this particular area. “Then, just like that, there was this shift toward being politically correct.”. Too suggestive of Indian feathers. SUBSCRIBE NOW Only $5 for 3 months. We don’t have a mascot at Central Michigan University.”. “‘The Indian pow wow could replace a pep meeting.’”. The Central Michigan University Chippewas In 2002, Maynard Kahgegab, Jr., then chief of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and Michael Rao, president of Central Michigan University, signed a proclamation pledging their support for strengthening the relationship between the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Central Michigan University “for the enhancement of each other’s goals and visions and for the greater …

In the 1970s there was a national movement about the use of native imagery for sports teams, which included Stanford University. “So the spear and the Indian head, which had been used for the previous 40 to 50 years were now no longer allowed.”. However, the administration that instituted this folded, and a new university president was brought in, leaving the issue of the nickname unanswered.

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