Football season is a great time of year to show our Chippewa pride … and our respect for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
Please keep in mind that actions such as inappropriate face paint or chants that have a Native American origin create an inaccurate and demeaning portrayal of the tribe's heritage. Historically, the Chippewas were hunters and gatherers. They donned war paint only in protecting their families when under attack.
As a reminder, multiple stripes — vertically, horizontally or zig-zag as shown below — are hurtful. Frank Cloutier, public relations director and a proud member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, describes it this way:
"Central Michigan University and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe have worked collaboratively for many years to embrace the cultural differences — and similarities — within our community. Together, we have been responsive and proactive with opportunities to strengthen one another by celebrating and embracing each other's beliefs and policies.
"Wearing war paint, adorning your person with feathers or simulating a tomahawk chop are not respectful actions nor a correct depiction of the Anishnaabeg people.
"The Anishnaabeg people are proud and resilient. We're not much different than each and every one of you who have been determined and brave enough to step out and seek a better future for yourselves and your families through higher education. Please keep this in mind as you celebrate and cheer on CMU.
"Che Miigwetch (extra-special thanks) for allowing me to share my thoughts."
Thank you, Frank. Yes, together all of us make CMU a remarkable university and an incredible community. And thank you, CMU fans, for showing respectful Chippewa pride.