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February 07, 1990 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-07

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 7, 1990 - Page 5
Chicana instructor
discusses death ritual

> I
i V P
AP Phot
A royal welcome
In New Zealand, Maori protesters stand in the water at Waitangi beach and heckle Queen Elizabeth as she
arrived there yesterday. They were protesting that the 150-year-old Waitangi Treaty has not been kept.
e Greek students organize to
ins 1 ellenic spiri at

by Ruth Littmann
Daily Staff Writer
"It's all Greek to me" is a cliche
LSA senior Eleni Eleftheriou wishes
0 she didn't have to take seriously.
"Modern Greek culture is being
ignored by academia," said Elefthe-
riou, who recently founded the Uni-
versity of Michigan Hellenic Stu-
dents Organization. The group was
recognized by the Michigan Student
Assembly last November and will
serve as a social and political outlet
for Greek students.
Believing that American univer-
sities are biased toward Turkey's po-
sition on issues concerning the
Greco-Turkish conflict, members
aim "to promote the political posi-
tion of Greece and Cyprus."
Greece and Turkey have been po-
litical rivals for many years. Some
contend that the causes of present
discord date as far back as the Ot-
toman Empire. In 1974, Turkey in-
vaded Cyprus causing a geographical
split of the island into two sepa-
rately governed regions.
Eleftheriou, president of the or-
'ganization, stressed that while the

group's purpose is not merely a po-
litical one, members hope to create
an open forum for discussion with
Turkish students about the Greco-
Turkish political conflict.
"We hope to organize a forum
with the Turkish group so each side
can come to a better understanding of
the other's point of view," she said.
Eleftheriou suggested that the
Hellenic organization and Turkish
Student Association participate in a
panel discussion on "Michigan Stu-
dent Forum," the student-run talk
show produced by Michigan Student
Television.
Turkish Student Association
member and Rackham graduate stu-
dent Tayfun Akin disagreed that
American Universities favor
Turkey's political position, but also
stressed the need for more communi-
cation between Greek and Turkish
students.
"We are in favor of getting to-
gether," he said.
"The people were always together
even though the Turkish and Greek
governments are always in conflict,"

said Turkish Student Association
member and LSA senior Serra Mud-
errisoglu.
Members of the new group are
also seeking to establish a Greek ra-
dio program and a Modern Greek
language department at the Univer-
sity.
Calling for University classes in
Modern Greek, LSA senior Veronica
Kalas said, "You look through the
course guide and see that the Univer-
sity teaches Swahili, yet it doesn't
offer Greek."
On the social side, the group
plans to sponsor a University dance
next month.
Last week, members viewed the
Byzantine Exhibition at the Detroit
Institute of Arts and dined in Greek
Town.
Shunning the stereotype of Greek
immigrants as "just hard-working
restaurant owners," Kalas said, "The
organization gives students a sense
of community and an opportunity to
see what it really is to be Greek."
The organization will hold a
meeting tonight at 8:00 in the Tap
Room of the Michigan Union.

by Emily Miller
Although Mexicans celebrate
death with feasts, it is not that they
underestimate its seriousness, said
Maria Guadeloupe-Heaton, an Ann
Arbor public school teacher. Guade-
loupe-Heaton spoke about the tradi-
tional "Day of Death" at Trotter
House yesterday in celebration of
Chicano History Week.
Part of Mexicans' authentic iden-
tity is represented by their unique
traditions concerning death, said
Guadeloupe-Heaton.
About 40 people attended the
speech, including an American Cul-
ture class called Hispanics and Edu-
cation. The class listened to Guade-
loupe-Heaton in order to understand
this important ritual from a histori-
cal and cultural perspective, said
speech coordinator and LSA senior
Kevin Ramon.
Guadeloupe-Heaton asked, "Have
you ever heard someone say, 'Today
is the Day of the Dead so I am going
to have a picnic in the cemetery to
commemorate the souls?"'
According to Mexican tradition,
DON'T GET CAUGHT
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IN THE SPECIAL
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SPY NITE

rn
Ha
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the Day of Deceased Saints is cele-
brated November 1 and 2, when the
deceased come back to feast with the
living. The grave is cleaned and
adorned with marigolds, and then a
picnic is held. Participants eat can-
dies shaped like skeletons, exotic
foods, and fruits.
Guadeloupe-Heaton contended
that while it may seem Mexicans are
not serious about death, this ritual
actually "shows a sense of humor
and a fear of death with a magical
sense." It makes their culture unique,
she said.
For Mexicans, death is not a
tragic fact, but a part of common ex-
istence, said Guadeloupe-Heaton.
They believe it is possible to speak
with deceased individuals and to
come into contact with death at any-

time, she added.
This belief descended from a
combination of Ancient Aztec and
Spanish Catholic heritage. The
Aztecs believed that "death and life
are two aspects of the same reality,"
Guadeloupe-Heaton said. After death,
the soul remained with the tribe, but
was invisible.
Guadeloupe-Heaton said death is
portrayed throughout Mexican the-
ater and literature. "Pedro Paramo," a
novel about the Mexican revolution,
is about a man who looks for his
dead father in a ghost town. As he
looks for his father, he comes into
contoct with many people, but dis-
covers that they are all really dead.
Guadeloupe-Heaton described feeling
"half-skin, half-skull," as she read
the novel.

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