EMU investigating allegations of racism where off-campus students were dressed as Native Americans
By Jane Park
It happened last Saturday at an off-campus residence on Ballard St.
Nathan Phillips tells 7 Action News he was walking in the neighborhood when he came upon a loud college party that seemed harmless enough.
“About the same time I noticed them, some of them noticed me and waved me over,” Phillips said.
When he approached closer, he saw about 30 to 40 students partying and noticed that about half of them were wearing “Redface” and sporting feathered headpieces.
Phillips asked the students what they were doing. They told him they were honoring Native Americans and told Phillips, “We’re the F-ing Hurons!” EMU’s nickname used to be the Hurons before the university changed it to the Eagles in the ‘90s.
Phillips responded, “This isn’t honoring us, this is racist. And as soon as I said ‘racist,' it turned from honoring the Indians to, ‘Go back to the reservation, you F-ing Indian, get the F out of here.’"
In the scuffle, someone threw a beer can at Phillips.
By Levi Rickert
One person at the “red-face” party told the elderly American Indian man: “We are Hurons and we are doing a ceremony to impregnate women.”
Using a variety of expletives, the students told him to “go back to the reservation” and threw a can of beer at him, which hit him in the chest.
The man called the Ypsilanti Police Department who took a report and broke up the party. No arrests were made.
Eastern Michigan University used the “Hurons” name and American Indian logo from 1929 until the early 1991. The state university dropped the Hurons name after much resistance of its use from American Indians. The school now uses the Eagles name. Two years ago, the school began to use the Hurons logo on their band uniforms.
By David Edwards
“We know that cultural appropriation very often leads violence to towards the culture that is being appropriated,” she explained, adding that any use of the word “hurons” fostered “dehumanization of our community.”
In a statement released last week, Eastern Michigan University said that officials were investigating the incident.
“Officials at Eastern Michigan University became aware on Sunday, April 12, 2015 that a party took place the previous afternoon at an off-campus location on Hamilton Street,” the statement said. “It was reported that some of those in attendance at the party were EMU students dressed as Native Americans. It was further reported that the group had an altercation with a member of the community who, upon witnessing the students, expressed offense regarding their dress and behavior.”