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September 23, 1999 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Thursday, September 23, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 15A

.What's in a name? Huron
controversy rising again
at Eastern, other schools

0 David Horn'
For the Daily
A symbol of pride
An important school tradition.
A disrespectful, callous, even bla-
tjntly racist stereotype that accom-
jiishes nothing but the propagation
Sbigotry in our society.
Native American mascots are dif-
f:rent things to different people, and
14 schools face increasingly intense
ssures from Native American
" erest groups, the rules of the mas-
e game are changing.
* ln 1991, Eastern Michigan left
behind its traditional 'Huron' nick-
name in favor of Echo the Eagle.
Pamela Young, director of public
relations for the school said. "The
kids like Echo. They are proud of
tMeir school and proud of their
chat said, some Eastern Michigan
traditionalists, including students.
faculty, and local fans, will be push-
ing the next administration to bring
hack the Huron nickname.
"The Pre'sident and the Board of
Directors made the choice eight
years ago. It was the right choice,
and there are certainly not plans to
change it back," Young replied.
,Groups like the Huron Restoration
ommittee will face resistance not
y from the school administration.
cemfortable in their 8-year-old deci-
sion, but also from native. Huron
Nation tribe members, such as Ish
Trwehsho'non of the Wyandot
Iedians and online editor of the
laxative News
14"1 have plans to put into writing
Our community's opinion regarding
ttiis... People are not mascots, we're
cartoons. We have a right to exist
dourselves, not to embody anoth-
cr's culture," said Tewehsho'non.
Ten years ago, Eastern Michigan
faced political pressure from a num-
ber of activist groups. Native
American-based and otherwise. The
Native Americans who argue against
stereotypical mascots are not alone.
Joining them are a variety promi-
uent politicians and organizations,
%icluding the NAACP, American
ish Committee, and the United
Barry sho
ETROIT (AP) - The father of
Warry Sanders says his son should
eturn to the Detroit Lions long
,.nough to break Walter Payton's
NFL rushing record. He plans to
$ake the pitco this weekend.
. William Sanders also said
)'Wednesday that he understands the
ions' reluctance to trade his son.
"If I were the Lions, I wouldn't
4trade Barry Sanders, either," he said
itm his home in Wichita, Kan.
the elder Sanders said his son is
esheduled to visit this weekend.
"He's in for a father-and-son
talk," William Sanders said. "I'm
,going to advise him to go back to
Detroit No situation is so bad you
2can't go back."
'As far as the Lions are concerned,
Sanders has retired and that's it.
W're respecting Barry's wish to
ire," spokesman Bill Keenist said.
And until we hear otherwise from
'im, we're not going to comment."
The 31-year-old running back was
1,458 yards short of breaking
Payton's NFL rushing record when

he retired July 28.
Since then, the Lions have
'-emanded that he repay S5.6 million
of the $ 1 million signing bonus ne
ot when he signed a six-year. $36
million contract in 1997
Sanders' agents, David Ware and
Lamont Smith, say their client must
be traded or granted free agency
before any money is retuned. The
club says it will not give up its rights
to Sanders
Sanders will have to decide on his
own whether to end his retirement,
R his father said.
"He's a man," the eider Sanders
said. "If he was 15, i would tell ;
*m "
The dispute has gone to arbitra-
tion. But William Sanders told the
Detroit Free Press that NFL Players
Association lawyer Arthur McAfee
said his son could not win the case.
A message was left Wednesday
with association spokesman Carl

Methodist Church. These groups
have asked their members to boycott
products and games that support cer-
tain teams, and have demanded that
both college and professional teams
"change face."
Many have responded. Like
Eastern Michigan, a number of
Division I, II, and III schools have
undergone mascot changes. Mid-
American Conference rival Miami
University replaced the politically
unpopular 'Redskin' in October of
1997 with Swoop the RedHawk.
College nicknames such as the
Florida State Seminoles and Illinois
Fighting Illini are among those that
have caused controversy.
Yet in Tallahassee. the matter
appears to be under control, accord-
ing to Browning Brooks, Director of
Media Relations at Florida State.
"We use Seminole symbolism that
pays homage to the tribe... with the
approval of Chief (James) Billie of
the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We
involve the tribe in planning the
clothing of Chief Osceola, who rides
an Appaloosa horse, Renegade, at
football games. Members of the
tribe participate in Homecoming fes-
tivities and, in fact, crown the prince
and princess.
"All activities relating to the use
of the name Seminole are treated
with the utmost respect and sensitiv-
ity and are known to, and approved
by, the tribe itself,"
Brooks responded via e-mail.
"Chief Billie is on record saying
that he resents outside interference
by other Indians, non-Seminoles,
who want all Indian nicknames ban-
ished nationwide. (Chief Haney)
suggested that if anyone were going
to protest the name being used, it
should be the Seminoles," Brooks
Among those who support a
nationwide banishment of Native
American mascots is Dr. Dennis
Tibbetts, Director of Native
American Studies at Northern
"Even if Florida State 'makes it
accurate,' they are still using sym-
bols that are a part of certain faiths.

The eagle feather, for example, is
used as a sign of honor in many cer-
emonies. What does it mean that it is
also used on the football field? The
(Seminole) tribe can agree, but peo-
ple outside can still object," Tibbetts
Perhaps the most politically
charged debate over team mascots is
at Illinois. The image of the fiction-
al Chief Illiniwek, mascot for more
than 70 years, could disappear from
the logo, as groups such as the
Progressive Resource/Action
Cooperative (PRC) gain support to
oust this strong Illinois tradition.
Brooke Anderson of the PRC sug-
gests that a "stubborn Board of
Trustees" will keep Chief Illiniwek
at Illinois for a long time. Even
though "a new mascot may usher in
a new era of sensitivity at U of I."
"The Chief and the environment
he creates at the University makes
Native American enrollment horren-
dous. It is difficult to attract top
Native American scholars. Why
would they come here? This school
has no Native American studies pro-
gram, nor Native American house.
I'm not Native American, but I can't
imagine what it's like for them here,"
said Anderson.
What would happen if Illinois
changed its mascot?
"The President would lose his
job," suggests Dr. Tibbetts. "These
nicknames were created in a time
when universities didn't expect to
ever encounter Native American stu-
dents or faculty.
"They were created without ill-
intent. But they are harmful and dis-
respectful. They should not exist,"
said Tibbetts.
As support builds for both pro-
and anti-mascot groups schools must
make decisions about what kind of
image they want to present.
They are forced to weigh years of
acceptance and school pride against
tremendous resentment from an
equally proud community.
Years of tradition could have to
make way for political correctness,
or popular mascots may be repre-
senting unpopular schools.

9:. ,.
.. m~4 (,4
I 4
' 2

Florida State 0ff.=
vials say the
school's use of
the Seminole
name is 'treated-
with the utmost
respect and sen-

?t . ° iT

t+ i*
y9 ,i<



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uld return to break
ecord, dad urges


William Sanders said he would
advise his son that he return to the
Lions on the condition that he be
traded after breaking Payton's
But, he added, "I don't know
what . . he wants to do."

Detroit, playing without Sanders
for the first time since 1989, is 2-0
and off to its best start since 1993.
The Lions play Sunday at Kansas
City. Their fourth game is Oct. 10
against San Diego at the

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