The University of Utah Utes: Working Toward Understanding
In 2011, David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah, promised the Indigenous Students and Allies for Change (ISAFC) he would slowly phase out the team name Ute as well as the feather and drum logo. But ISAFC co-chair Samantha Eldridge, Navaho, said Pershing changed his mind once the Ute Indian Tribe called for a Memorandum of Understanding.
Phil Chimburas, a council member of the Ute Tribe in Fort Duquesne, Utah, said it was too soon to discuss the MOU. “We are still in negotiation,” he said.
But Forrest Cuche, Ute elder, cultural advisor, and Utah’s former Director of Indian Affairs—a position he held for 13 years—said the MOU could include scholarships for Ute students and an educational plan. While the MOU is not expected to call for retirement of the name or logo, Cuche is in agreement with Ethridge that fan behavior must be addressed.
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