September 09, 2012

EMU revives Hurons logo

Former EMU logo featuring Native American mascot will briefly reappear on band uniforms

By Christina HallEastern Michigan University’s old Hurons logo is making a re-appearance more than 20 years after it was dropped over concerns that it was offensive to Native Americans and others.

The Hurons logo, used from 1929 to 1991, and another former block M logo that honors the Normalites—when the university was known as Michigan State Normal School—are embroidered inside new band uniforms that will be worn at Saturday’s football home opener.

The logos are inside the green and white jackets near the wearer’s heart and aren’t visible on the outside.

“It’s important to note, our mascot is not changing. We’ve been the Eagles for the last 20 years and we will remain the Eagles,” said Walter Kraft, EMU’s vice president for communications. “We really looked at this as a way to embrace our history and embrace our past and alumni from different eras.”

Kraft said the 163-year-old school has more than 148,000 alumni nationwide—most in Michigan—who attended EMU during its various eras. He said the logos aren’t set to appear on any other formal university items beyond the band uniforms.
Indian Country Today is rightly scornful of this move:

Eastern Michigan University Brings Back Divisive Indian Logo to “Honor its History, Pride”Despite having changed their mascot some twenty years ago from the Hurons to the Eagles, the president and some alumni at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) have seen fit to reclaim the old logo for the football team’s home opener. Despite the fact that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission recommended all schools avoid the use of American Indian mascots, EMU’s marching band will be wearing the old logo, the Detroit News reports.

The News reports that many of the school’s alumni have long derided the team’s name, logo and mascot change, and have refused to support the school financially because of the decision.

“Once a Huron, always a Huron,” appears to be the mantra of some EMU alumni, the Detroit News reports.

“An effort to heal that wound will be made on Saturday at the football team’s home opener against Illinois State at Rynearson Stadium,” reports. The News goes on to write that “The EMU Marching Band will sport the logo on its new uniforms Saturday…although the uniform’s Huron logo won’t be easily visible, the move is part of several university efforts to unite EMU alumni—especially those who are still vocal about the dropped mascot and won’t financially support the university.”

The ruffled feathers of alumni, and the withholding of financial support, apparently trumps the 1991 decision by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the feelings of Michigan’s many tribal members.

“Reinstating the Hurons is just one of several ways the university is starting to nod to and celebrate its past,” EMU President Susan Martin told the News. “She came up with the idea with alumni to include the Huron mascot on the 275 new band uniforms,” the News reports.

“I don’t like native people being used as mascots in any situation,” said American Indian Services Director Fay Givens to the News, who was a outspoken supporter of changing the Huron mascot in 1991.
Comment:  This is a typical example of white privilege in action. The white majority declares that their feelings are important than the feelings of Indians. The implicit message is: "We own this country. We're the deciders. What we say, goes."

It remains pathetic that mascot lovers need a stereotypical sports logo to validate their existence. Grow up, you whiny babies. Most people give up their teddy bears and security blankets, and you can too.

For more on Indian mascots, see Syracuse Mascot in The Express and Even Sioux Voted Against "Fighting Sioux."

1 comment:

dmarks said...

That's weird. It's like the minstrel shows I have seen that have completely rejected any sort of "blackface" acts that they used to do in their history decades ago suddenly deciding to do blackface again.