Indigenous Students and Allies for Change
Students dress up in face paint and headdresses and can be seen at every game.

The University of Utah Utes: Working Toward Understanding

Christina Rose

When the student group met with the university’s president, they were told to develop an education program to prepare the school for the retirement of the logo. “We put together a power point presentation with our traditions and research to raise awareness, and the university was going to phase out the drum and feather merchandise. We did our part and presented to student groups and community members, the football team, and Board of Trustees,” Eldridge said.

The group also presented at the National Indian Education Conference in Oklahoma in 2012, and at Haskell University’s Empowerment Summit. They brought in Dennis Banks and the 1491s, a sketch comedy group from Minnesota and Oklahoma.

By 2013, the students realized they had not seen any change in the logo and contacted the president. “They told us they were keeping the logo, and that ‘you just need to do what you are going to do,’” Eldridge said. “He was stringing us along.”

Fan behavior at the University of Utah games frequently includes disrespectful representations of sacred objects. (Indigenous Students and Allies for Change)

“That’s when we drafted the petition, not just locally but nationally.” Eldridge managed to get more than 700 signatures that called for the retirement of the logo.

RELATED: Petition to Change University of Utah 'Ute' Nickname on

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Utahute72's picture
Submitted by Utahute72 on
I think both sides are missing an opportunity here. I would love the see a required general education class where all students at the university are taught about the history of the tribe and native Americans in general. I would guess that if the student body were educated we would be less likely to find offensive behavior. I would also like to see one of the football halftimes turned over to the native American community to present to the fan base cultural and educational information. I wish we could make the school a model for cooperation with the native Americans we are supposed to represent.