Where Did Central Michigan Chippewas Get Their Name?

Where Did Central Michigan Chippewas Get Their Name?

Where Did Central Michigan Chippewas Get Their Name?

A Change in Identity

Ever wondered how the Central Michigan Chippewas got their unique name? Well, you're in for a fascinating journey that takes us back to 1942.

A Proclamation of Unity

Fast forward to 2002, Maynard Kahgegab Jr., then chief of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and Michael Rao, then president of Central Michigan University, signed a proclamation. This document pledged to strengthen the relationship between the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and CMU for the greater good of the community, state, and nation. It also included a statement of support for the university's continued use of the Chippewas nickname, provided it was used in a respectful and honorable manner.

Learning from Past Mistakes

While the name "Chippewas" was initially adopted with good intentions, it wasn't always used respectfully. In the past, the name led to stereotypical imagery and mockery of indigenous ceremonies. Today, CMU takes great care to use the nickname in a way that respects and honors indigenous cultures. They've even copyrighted the name to control unauthorized use.

The Importance of Respect

If you're a CMU student, faculty, or staff member, it's your responsibility to use the Chippewas nickname respectfully. This includes understanding the rich heritage of the Chippewa culture and refraining from disrespectful behaviors like dressing like an "Indian" or performing the "tomahawk chop."

Know the Tribe

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, is mainly comprised of the Saginaw, Black River, and Swan Creek Ojibwe bands. The tribe provides a variety of governmental services and contributes more than $64 million annually to local and state governments.

So, the next time you cheer, "Fire Up, Chips!" remember the deep-rooted history and the responsibility that comes with using the name "Chippewas."

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