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February 22, 2000 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-22

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 22, 2000

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of Cultural Degradation and

Michigamua's relationship with the
U-M Native American community

1972 - Victoria Barner, a U-M grad student and
Alaskan Native, files a complaint with the Michi-
gan Civil Rights Commission. She stated in her
complaint that Michigamua "holds initiation 'rites'
on campus in public each spring which are demean-
ing and insulting to the Indian culture and heri-
tage. I believe the University has violated my rights
and those of other American Indians by permitting
our culture to be distorted and ridiculed because of
our race and national origin."
1973 - The University, by way of the Office of
General Council, settles Barmer's compliant vol-
untarily by encouraging Michigamua to elimi-
nate "all public actions" in exchange for the Civil
Rights Commission not finding the University
engaged in any unlawful discrimination.
1976 - Another complaint is filed accusing the
University of violating Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 by denying membership to
minorities and ridiculing Native American cul-
1989 -April 10, Michigamua drives around cam-
pus at night in a rented U-Haul picking up mem-
bers holding fake tomahawks, in direct viola-
tion of 1973 agreement.
1989 - The Minority Affairs Commission (MAC)
files complaint with the Michigan Civil Rights
Commission. To avoid a legal charges against
the Board of Regents, Michigamua and their
alumni "Old Braves Council", sign an agreement
with the Native American student complainant,
the chair of MAC, and the student Discrimina-
tion Policy Administrator. In a December 1989
Tower Talk (Michigamua Newsletter), "Fish'Um
Puck out of Net" Sharples reports that "The
conditions of this agreement will almost assur-

edly appear overly restrictive to most older mem-
bers of Michigamua.....To be more specific,
Michigamua is dropping all references to Na-
tive American society and culture."
1990-1997 - On Monday nights and during
Michigamua's "Longest Week," the sound of a
drum being beaten and songs sung emanate
from the Michigan Union Tower. Red paint
appears on the Tappan Oak near the Grad
Library. Michigamua Bear Meat Feasts occur
at the University Recreation Area, home of the
ropes course, and Michigamua's totem pole and
stomping grounds.
1997-1998 - The Native American Student As-
sociation (NASA) confronts Michigamua on
their public display of "Indianess": the totem
pole, tomahawk plaque next to the Tappan Oak,
the drum songs coming from the tower, and the
name Michigamua. A series of meetings con-
vene between administration, Michigamua, and
NASA to enforce the 1989 agreement that
Michigamua has violated. Michigamua, after
long and exhausting meetings, agrees to remove
the tomahawk plaque, the totem pole, and the
marching band drum they used for their songs,
to stop painting the Tappan Oak; for Michigamua
the name is nonnegotiable.
2000 - The Students of Color Coalition occupy
the Michigamua "Wigwam Room" to highlight
privileges provided to Michigamua by Univer-
sity administration, through free use of seventh-
floor Union tower room, and to bring public at-
tention and scrutiny to the University's support
of a racist, elitist, and sexist secret society.
*All information and quotes cited from University
of Michigan Bentley Historical Library sources.

A Native American perspective about
Od "Flipp'Um Back" and why Native America is mad!

,V. ' ow

2M Nf UsUN 5T'AIt?
0~2000 Shananaquet

Old Brave Gerald "Flipp'Um

Back" Ford - Class of '35


"It is about respect - respect for everybody. In our understanding, the Creator made'
everything. That's all we're told. He made everything. And since he made every-
thing, then you must respect everything. That's simple. And so as I look upon you,
I know that the Creator made you; I know that you're equal. You're equal in every
way to us. And I respect you because you are a manifestation of the Creation.
But the law says that you must respect us as well. In this basic respect is peace.
That's what's called community. Unfortunately, in today's time this does not occur.
And so what I am talking about now is respect for our people's ways. Our land,
our language, and our culture have been taken. Don't try to take our religion.
We need that respect." - Oren Lyons, Onondaga, 1992
We invite you to a gathering of over 1,000 of North America's greatest
singers and dtncers. Come see the rich culture and heritage of the
country's most rnowted Native American artists and craftspeople.
DOORS OPEN FRIDAY at . .M. Adults $8/day
Friday Grand Entry at 7 P.M. with College students (with valid ID) $6/day
singing & dancing until 10 P.M.. Students (13-17 yrs.) $6/day
DOORS OPEN SATURDAY-at 11 A;M. Seniors (60 yrs. & up) $6/day
Saturday Grand Entries at 1 & 7 P.M. Children (4-12 yrs.) $4/day
with singing & dancing un*i1 10 P.M4. 3 yrs. & under are FREE
DOORS OPEN SUNDAY at 11A.M. Weekend Passes will be available
Sunday Grand Entry at 1 P.M. Handicap Entrance on west side of arena
with the Pow Wow concluding at 6 P.M. ALL TICKETS ON SALE AT THE DOOR

To the Seventh Fire News:
I recently took a trip to the University of Michi-
gan to support the Michigamua "wigwam"
occupation by the Students of Color Coalition.
I was given a copy of the Michigan Daily and
upon reading the February 9, 2000 edition, I am
writing in response to the letter submitted by
U-M alumnus and Michigamua member Lvell
Haynes. As a Native American mother and for
the sake of my children, I feel compelled to speak
to the ignorance Mr. Haynes has shown about
my people. I can not speak to the actions of
former and present members of Michigamua,
but I can provide questions that are being raised
concerning the purpose of Michigamua for
those who are willing to listen and understand.
What kind of satisfaction is derived from
making a mockery of Native people, their
artifacts, language, and culture? Do you as mem-
bers of Michigamua perpetuate stereotypical
images in your home, to your children, your
grandchildren, or your place of employment?
As hard as people of color have worked
to educate and provide culturally sensitive
programs and information to the public, the
irresponsible actions and beliefs of
Michigamua have shown the ignorance and
immaturity of these so-called "leaders." No
matter how many opportunities there are for
Michigamua members to be educated about'

our culture, I personally feel that their minds are
already made up to use our traditions
and spirituality as a basis . for their
stereotypical mockery and degradation. The
American Heritage Dictionary defines the
word "stereotype" as a person, group, event, or
issue considered to typify or conform to an
unvarying pattern, or manner, lacking any indi-
viduality. Michigamua, find your own identity
and stop misappropriating mine! We define
our teachings based on the "Seven Grandfathers"
(Wisdom, Love, Humility, Truth, Bravery,
Honesty, and Respect). If any members of
Michigamua, past or present, truly understood
at least one of these teachings, we
certainly would not have eight students who
have joined their spirits to define the wrongful-
ness of this situation to you Lyell Haynes, Michi-
gamua, The University of Michigan and its
officials. Instead, we would have a mutual
understanding and respect for one another. How
dare you presume to know my culture? How
dare you tell me to let go of the past that shapes
who I am? I have pity for you and your "cult"
who do not know where you come from and must
grasp at something that is not yours and will
never be yours.
Mii si iiw.
Punkin Shananaquet
Anishnaabe mother


I1 U - I - - -- - . . . 'w F - Cl r n niita n n l 1, cldu rrnU i h S ni F n_ hi nin o . -

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