January 04, 2007

Gerald Ford's secret society

The Michigamua Dispute: Michigamua has troubled pastIn 1817, the Ojibwe, Potowatomi and Odawa Nations made an agreement to cede 3,840 acres of their lands in exchange for the education of all future generations of their people. This agreement, known as the Treaty of Fort Meigs, became the basis for the foundation of the University. Despite the terms of this agreement, not only have outreach and retention efforts for Native American students been neglected, but an organization openly mocking and bastardizing Native American culture has long been in place.

The name Michigamua originates from the Ojibwe word, michigama meaning land surrounded by water. Additionally, each new member is given a name that is derived from Injun-English, the racist depiction of supposed Native American speech. Examples of such names include "Great Scalper" Yost, "Squaw-Teaser" Schmid and "Wise Chief" Hutchins. These names are derogatory and reflect painful stereotypes of Native American peoples. For example, the word "squaw," which is so abrasive it is not even spoken aloud in many Native communities, refers to female genitalia and is currently displayed on a wall of the Tap Room in the Michigan Union.
How does this group harm Indians? A student complaint spells it out, saying Michigamua isA "secret society" housed in the Tower of the Michigan Union ("the Tower"), on the campus of the University of Michigan, since May 15, 1933, where, among other things:

Non-Native American members adopted and performed pseudo-Native American rituals (both publicly and privately); gave themselves pseudo-Native American names (including names like "First I Run, Then I Vomit"); appropriated, displayed, and played with spiritually and historically significant Native American artifacts and items of worship;

Membership was closed to the student body at large, and members were "tapped" (selected for membership) by existing members who felt that the prospective members would most appropriately reflect their ideas of leadership within the University.
Incidentally, this posting has nothing to do with any personal dislike of Ford. I criticize anyone who has stereotyped Indians, from Mark Twain to Ronald Reagan to Oprah Winfrey.


Anonymous said...

Nice to see the "Michigan Daily" on the job here. You know, the college newspaper with illustrious alumni including Arthur Miller, Tom Hayden, Mike Wallace, and...MOI.

We're an impressive bunch, ain't we?

Rob said...

Gerald Ford was a member of Michigamua. See my January 5 posting for more on the subject.

Rob said...

A title doesn't have to be explicit to be accurate. This title implied what I surmised. In other words, it was truthful even if the truth wasn't evident in the article.