Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blogger defends Michigamua members

In randomness... a blogger defends her friend, a current "Pride of 2006" member. I have decided to comment on this only because this issue has popped back up time and time again since our occupation in 2000 of the Michigamua wigwam. This issue surfaced in 2000 during the occupation when then Pride of 2000 president, Nick Delgado, expressed concern over being labeled a racist for becoming a Michigamua member.

Is it fair to label someone with organizational ties a racist because of those ties? I will leave that question open for debate. However, consider this- If an individual joined the KKK and their purpose was to transform the organization from the inside out, would you consider that person racist? It's a tough analogy, because despite my contempt for the practices of Michigamua, their sole purpose is not the destruction of Native American people, even though their actions are contributing to the same. The KKK on the other hand, has the sole purpose of white supremacy and the destruction of racial minorities (or anything non-white, non-protestant).

It is a difficult issue. On the one hand racism is much more covert than it once was. I can argue that Michigamua causes as much pain and distress as the KKK if one was to look at covert forms of racism and cultural degradation. Not to mention the University of Michigan's responsibility and role in institutionalized racism.

The primary issue with Michigamua is the alumni or Old Wolves council and the organization's legacy. The Old Wolves council has no intentions of changing the offensive nature of the organization, be it the organization name, the pseudo-naming of members, the use of symbolism and references, all insulting to Native American culture, traditions and values. It was clear after the tower takeover that Michigamua had not only violated the 1989 agreement, but made a mockery of it. Every year that Native students have protested Michigamua and their practices, current pride members ask to engage in dialogue. Can you see how circular this process is? With a turnover each year of new pride members, and a turnover every four-eight years or so of students (graduate and undergraduate), the call for dialogue becomes hollow. There needs to be continuity from pride to pride, class to class. The alumni or Old Wolves rely on this tactic each year to keep tradition alive- they shoulder the responsibility on the new pride and those members are often as clueless about what is going on as the general campus was and still is. However, to absolve Michigamua as an organizational whole, of this responsibility is a travesty, because the one thing that remains constant from year to year is MICHIGAMUA and their offense to Native Americans.


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