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

A university employee, who asked to remain anonymous, and is Navaho said, “I think it’s a good school, but regarding the mascot and logo, and the day to day stereotypes, it’s hard for me to see.”

“I cannot take my kids to those games,” she said. “Or they will think that’s what our culture is. We are thriving and professionals, we are not an image. I think the kids would think their culture is being made fun of, all that whooping and hollering, and wearing sacred regalia.”

“There has never been an attempt to curb the fans and it is our hope to put some process in place to curb that,” Cuche said. “I am offended by that myself, but this is an opportunity to promote education. We desire the visibility.”


Cuche said the draft MOU being considered seeks to include an Indian advisor to the president, a scholarship program, and to build more of a relationship with the university.

According to Cuche, activists in the 1970s sought to have the name and logo changed, but when they saw the tribal resolution supported the name and logo, they backed off. In his opinion, “this generation has no respect for tribal sovereignty.”

“Central Michigan has an MOU that addresses offensive behavior and the university has said they will address these behaviors in the future. We are behind times in our state and we are having to learn from other tribes.”


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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.