From Dragons to Bearcats to Chippewas … say what?

October 5, 2011
By Bill Krueger

chippewasWhat is a Chippewa, the mascot for the Central Michigan University football team that is visiting Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday to take on the Wolfpack?

Not surprisingly, the Chippewas were a tribe of Native Americans that once lived in the area where the university is located. The Chippewa River flows through Mount Pleasant, the home of Central Michigan University.

The university’s athletics teams were not always known as the Chippewas, though, according to an article on the university’s website. They were known as the Dragons until 1927, when the mascot was changed to the Bearcats.

In 1942, concerned that bearcats were nearly extinct and had little geographic relevance the university, Central Michigan changed its name to the Chippewas.

At one point, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission recommended dropping the Chippewas nickname. But the university decided to retain the name and develop educational programs with the local Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council to help the university’s students gain a deeper understanding of traditional Native American culture.

“The university’s goals are to use the name with honor and respect, increase supportive connections between CMU and Native Americans, and improve efforts to sensitize students, faculty, and staff to Native American traditions and cultures,” reads a statement on the university’s website.

Click here if you want to read more about the Central Michigan University Chippewas.

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