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EMU faces controversy over resurrected Huron logo

Jun 6, 2015

Eastern Michigan University changed its mascot to an eagle in 1991. The school is facing controversy for bringing a logo depicting a Native American out of retirement.
Credit Kenneth Bailey / Wikimedia Commons

Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice were at Eastern Michigan University this week to meet with President Susan Martin and a Native American student group over the school's continued use of its Hurons logo.

The retired logo depicts the painted face of a Native American with feathers.

EMU stopped using it in 1991, but Martin brought it back in 2012. 

It's currently displayed on the inner lapel of the school's marching band uniforms, along with its other former logo, the "Normalite."

Mark Fancher with the ACLU of Michigan said use of the logo has led to hostility and humiliation for Native American students.

"There are so many in our society who say 'I don't find it offensive,'" Fancher said. "How they find it is of really no consequence if it does cause great harm to people who are the direct targets of it."

So far, Martin has refused to stop using the logo.

Walter Kraft with EMU's communications department said its use is "strictly a historic tribute."

"Our plan is to continue working with our students," Kraft said. "We don't consider this to be a discussion that has ended."

Kraft said EMU was one of the first schools in the country to drop its Native American logo.