What it Means to be a Chippewa

The following appears in the annual CMU student handbook.

Using the Chippewa name is special. The use of the name Chippewa as a symbol for CMU is special. Unlike the schools that use the names of animals, inanimate objects, mythical characters or even ancient people who no longer exist, CMU uses a name that is associated with a proud Native American nation. We call ourselves the Chippewas.

Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications

Using the name Chippewa brings special responsibilities. Because we use a name associated with a contemporary people, every effort must be made to avoid engaging in behavior that demeans, belittles or promotes stereotypes of Chippewas and American Indians. CMU students and friends of the University must be aware that human beings are affected by what we do and say in association with the use of the Chippewa name. Adhering to the following, particularly at our athletic events, will help in promoting the positive use of the Chippewa as our University symbol:

  • Do not wear war paint, head feathers or other stereotypical American Indian dress to sporting events.
  • Do not chant "war whoops," refer to scalping opponents or make other verbal references to opposing teams which promote the stereotype of the "savage" Native American.
  • Do not bring stereotypical Native American weapons such as tomahawks, spears and arrows to taunt and threaten opposing teams.
  • Do not mock sacred Native American rituals by pretending to do Native American dances, performing Native American spiritual rights or inappropriately using Native American symbols.

Using Chippewa as a symbol for CMU means that we must respect our Chippewa neighbors and Native American culture. All CMU students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities provided at the University to learn more about the contributions of the American Indians and the Chippewa people.

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