Arbor Update

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Michigamua-trauma Hull "humbly" hammers Goodspeed

26. January 2006 • David Boyle
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In today’s Daily viewpoint “Michigamua speaks out”, Brian Hull of Michigamua says,

”...The assertion that many students have refused the invitation to join Michigamua is simply untrue [What about Tom Hayden etc.?]....Some students have traditionally used Rob Goodspeed’s humbly titled “Goodspeed Update’ blog as their primary source of information regarding Michigamua. Many of his postings include misconceptions that are part of an intentional effort to discredit the organization with self-serving motives. ...”


Oh the pain. Someone in an organization with a fake “Indian” name calls someone else names. (See, e.g., here, ”...The leadership society dubbed itself the ‘Tribe of Michigamua,’ after a mythical band of Anishnaabeg that had been killed during American expansion…”

Would we be comfortable if a group called Koshergoya, Negrogeorgia, or Burritogarcia were on campus, brandishing a fake ethnic name? I don’t think so.—When your organization can’t even get its NAME right, there are very definite problems…

  1. ”...The assertion that many students have refused the invitation to join Michigamua is simply untrue”

    if you can find ONE person who turned down an invitation, then this argument falls apart…goodspeed, holla at your boy…

    no tolerance for intolerance,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 26 '06 - 11:18PM    #
  2. ari,

    my argument was clearly not the fact that ALL tapped students accept. the daily article the day before gave the impression that many students consistently turn down taps each year. this claim is very much false.

    as for the name, it does not refer to any specific native tribe that may have existed at some point. however, if native students have issue with the name regardless of the previous fact, michigamua is very much willing to openly and honestly discuss this issue with members of NASA. until we hear something specific from them, and not through random intermediaries, productive discussion will continue to be extremely difficult.
       —Brian Hull    Jan. 26 '06 - 11:47PM    #
  3. It seems like a curious allegation: Rob Goodspeed has “self-serving motives”?

    What would those motives be?
       —Joseph j7uy5    Jan. 27 '06 - 02:55AM    #
  4. “Would we be comfortable if a group called Koshergoya, Negrogeorgia, or Burritogarcia were on campus, brandishing a fake ethnic name?”

    I dunno? Is “Michigamua” really analagous to “burritogarcia?” And is it Michigamua’s fakeness that bothers you David?

    That’s “Kwanzaa” with two “a’s” please,
       —Daniel Adams    Jan. 27 '06 - 05:29AM    #
  5. I’m white, but can I still join Burritogarcia? Those guys sound alright.
       —js    Jan. 27 '06 - 06:22AM    #
  6. “Much time has passed since 1902. And much has changed at Michigan. Traditions have evolved, Michigamua still exists for a single reason: to serve the University above all else.” -Michigamua in the Daily


    ”...but who we are and what we are doing, we cannot tell you.”

    Note that the Michigamua states on their website that they exist “to serve the University,” without saying how. Certainly the Michigamaua doesn’t take credit for much (except funding construction of the Michigan Union, which was decades ago).

    So what are they doing for the University? Are they serving the interests of the students, or the state? And in either case, why the secrecy?

    Their website is worth a good look-over. Note also the funny lack of hyperlinks under the “truths” and “private” sections. Note also in the FAQs, the vague responses similar to what’s given in the Daily letter. The “well, a lot about us is in the public record,” type stuff. And note in the FAQs the odd statement,”it bears mentioning that Michigamua unites distant corners of the University by fostering a secure environment for student leaders to connect on an intense level.”

    What kind of an intense level?!

    What the hell are these people up to?

    The Michigamua’s response leaves several questions unanswered:

    -What exactly do they do “for the University?”

    -What is the motive for the secrecy?

    -Why do so many parallel college societies have creepy occult names and rituals?

    -How can they claim they are not a secret society when the DEFINITION of a secret society is “an organization, such as a lodge, that requires its members to conceal certain activities, such as its rites of initiation, from outsiders,” [] and that is precisely what the Michigamua has done and continues to do?
       —Adam de Angeli    Jan. 27 '06 - 09:42AM    #
  7. “Michigamua” may be roughly analagous to “Burritogarcia” in terms of wackiness, or fakeness. And Michigamua’s fakeness is one factor that seems to bother many people…

    Glad you like Kwanzaa!
       —David Boyle    Jan. 27 '06 - 06:21PM    #
  8. I turned down the tap for Michigauma’s younger sister, Pheonix. The whole idea of self-selecting secret societies seems elitist and undemocratic to me. Like duh.
    To my understanding, Jesse Levine turned down Pheonix’s offer as well.

    The person who attempted to induct me explained it as “Do Random Acts of Kindness” but secret.

    Down with it, I say.
       —Bates    Jan. 28 '06 - 05:38PM    #
  9. “Do Secret Acts of Kindness”...hmmm!
       —David Boyle    Jan. 28 '06 - 06:12PM    #
  10. Well guys, I must admit the movie deal I scored with my Michigamua coverage alone has made me millions. Just wait until it hits the European market.
       —Rob Goodspeed    Jan. 29 '06 - 07:32PM    #
  11. Bravo! Nice comeback.

    “Michigamua Point” by Woody Allen. Starring Scarlett Johansson and a horde of enraged UM students…
       —David Boyle    Jan. 29 '06 - 08:27PM    #
  12. Bates, you should’ve joined the organization and leaked all of their secrets!

    Although, for your own sake, probably best you didn’t. Secret societies use blackmail to keep their secrets. Certainly that’s how the Skull and Bones do it.
       —Adam de Angeli    Jan. 29 '06 - 08:34PM    #
  13. Not to suggest that the Phoenix is anywhere near as high up the pyramid of secret power as the Skull and Bones. But the Illuminati symbolism is consistent.
       —Adam de Angeli    Jan. 29 '06 - 08:57PM    #
  14. Also, last week’s blackbox radio episode has an interesting interview with NASA and Michigamua members that is worth checking out.
       —Rob Goodspeed    Jan. 30 '06 - 02:42AM    #
  15. My secret society smokes pot and watches b horror movies. In order to be invited to join, you have to have pretty good taste in movies or be willing to share your pot.

    But apparently we can’t call ourselves Burritogarcia anymore.
       —js    Jan. 30 '06 - 11:14PM    #
  16. Maybe you should call yourselves something else. Isn’t that a pinto-based alternative for those who don’t like cherry flavoring in their ice cream?

    Well—on a note rather tangental to the topic of wealthy tie-dyed Vermont tycoons who named an ice cream after a guitarist who died not long after designing some ties—I would suspect the difficulty the University has had over several decades in coming to grips with Michigamua & secret societies & their “traditions” has to do in no small part with that subset of elite “U” donors who belonged to the group many years ago as students. The thought of irritating some influential & monied alumni by clamping down on Michigamua’s antics and privileges has historically created a bit of sweat up in the lofty reaches of the Fleming Building. For example, see
       —hale    Jan. 31 '06 - 02:40AM    #
  17. It’s pretty cute how students and alums think that this issue is still worth one iota of their time!
       —intouchwithreality    Jan. 31 '06 - 04:37PM    #
  18. See insightful letter in today’s Daily, Michigamua can stay, but only with name change ,

    “I am a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and I believe the true “Michigamua dispute” rests in the name of that organization.
    ...I stand behind the Native American Student Association in Michigamua has troubled past (02/02/2006) when its members ask Michigamua to change their name. NASA is not asking for a complete abolition of the group. The word “Michigamua” is a Native American term, and therefore the organization cannot completely separate itself from its troubled past as long its members call the group Michigamua. It is contradictory for them to say that they have completely changed their ways and yet maintain the use of a Native American word. Until the name is changed, Michigamua will continue to encounter disputes.

    Cynthia Biro
    LSA senior”
       —David Boyle    Feb. 8 '06 - 10:38PM    #
  19. Ok, I know I am a little late in this discussion, but is Brian Hull serious? Do you know how long the Native American Students Association has been telling Michigamua that their name and practices are offensive???? FOR OVER THIRTY-THREE YEARS!!!! Since Vicky Barner first filed a complaint in 1973. How long are they suppposed to engage in dialogue?? Oh yeah, until they agree with Michigamua.. that’s right!

       —Farah    Feb. 23 '06 - 07:39PM    #
  20. Rob Goodspeed on Goodspeed Update in Michigamua Re-Named? notes,

    “Sources say they’ll simply refer to themselves as “The Pride of 2007” for the time being, and there is talk of a new name. The final turnover to the new class is tonight [April 3].”

       —David Boyle    Apr. 8 '06 - 06:22AM    #
  21. Arbor Update “blogfather” Rob Goodspeed on Goodspeed Update in Name Michigan’s Premier Secret Society! ,

    “That’s right folks, you’ve got the chance to name a secret society!

    According to my sources, the premier University of Michigan secret senior honor society has recently voted to abandon the name Michigamua.
    Thus, I’m proud to announce the first-ever Secret Society Naming Competition. While I can’t promise the actual organization will adopt the name, I do know many members frequent this website and I’m sure they’ll consider any quality submissions. I also promise to use the winning name with due credit prolifically on this site. To enter, simply leave your suggestion in the comments before noon on Thursday, April 13th. I will consult my secret panel of judges (It’s only fitting, right?) and announce the winner later that day. Good luck!”

       —David Boyle (Rob Goodspeed running "Rename Michigamua" contest)    Apr. 10 '06 - 08:47PM    #
  22. How about “Big Ten Secret Society”?

       —ann arbor is overrated    Apr. 10 '06 - 09:37PM    #
  23. WOW

    1000 points 4 u!!!
       —David Boyle (Rob Goodspeed running "Rename Michigamua" contest)    Apr. 10 '06 - 09:43PM    #
  24. I actually put “Richigamua” as my own suggestion at Good-Update.

       —David Boyle    Apr. 10 '06 - 09:45PM    #
  25. See, e.g., today’s Daily, Michigamua commits to reforms: In sweeping reform, society drops name, releases list of members ,

    “After 104 years as Michigamua, the University’s most controversial student group announced yesterday that it has retired its name and plans to have a new one in the fall. The society also made public the members of its classes of 2006 and 2007.

    “Upon consideration of our overriding principle of service and gaining significant input from our broader Michigan family, our organization has determined that we will continue this tradition without using the name Michigamua,” the group said yesterday in a written statement to The Michigan Daily.

    The announcement was met with mixed reactions on campus.

    The reformation comes in response to years of criticism and claims that the senior honor society was racist because it had previously used Native American rituals and artifacts in its meetings. The name Michigamua was chosen in 1902 to sound like a mythical Native American tribe.

    The group is mostly composed of athletes and the leaders of campus groups. The “Pride of 2007” includes Michigan Student Assembly President Nicole Stallings, Michigan football player Adam Kraus and Interfraternity Council President Jon Krasnov.

    LSA junior Brittany Marino, outgoing co-chair of the Native American Student Association, lauded the reforms, but cautioned that they are not enough.

    “I think that the name change is a huge step and obviously something that the Native community has been calling for a long time, so I’m very glad to see the name change,” she said. “But I think it’s only one of the many steps that need to be taken. We still have a ways to go. ...”

       —David Boyle (MICHIGAMUA AGREES TO CHANGE NAME, REFORM!!)    Apr. 12 '06 - 07:05PM    #
  26. What’s Boyle going to post about now that he doesn’t have Michigamua to kick around any more?

       —John Q.    Apr. 13 '06 - 01:34AM    #
  27. Heh

    We live in a crazee world, will always be things to post about… :D
       —David Boyle    Apr. 13 '06 - 04:02AM    #
  28. In a sign that concern about abuse of Native American images is not confined to UM and Michigamua, our neighboring ville Ypsilanti, the high school in particular, is dealing with these issues too, see today’s AA News, Ypsilanti High to keep ‘Braves’ name, lose logo: District will work to disassociate name from Native Americans ,

    “The Ypsilanti High School logo depicting a Native American with a mohawk haircut and feathers in his hair will go, but the “Braves’’ nickname will stay.

    That’s what the school board decided in a 5-2 vote Monday night. School officials hope the decision will put to rest a controversial issue that first came up 15 years ago and then resurfaced in late 2004.

    Critics said the logo was offensive and disrespectful to Native American cultures. Supporters said the logo is part of the district’s heritage and tradition, and was not intended to offend anyone.

    ...Board President Andy Fanta said after the meeting that once a cost analysis is done, he and Hawkins would contact Native American tribes in Michigan to ask whether they would consider contributing to the removal costs. In addition, the logo will no longer be reproduced and any items in the school store bearing the logo will not be reordered once they sell out.

    Fanta said he felt two things were accomplished by Monday night’s vote.

    “The board responded overwhelmingly to the sensitivities of the Native American population … and perhaps more importantly, we decided to review our curriculum and revise our curriculum where our professional staff decides it needs to do so, to ensure Native Americans are fairly and accurately portrayed in our curriculum,’’ Fanta said after the meeting.

    Trustees Jeff Fulton and Cameron Getto voted against the measure, but for different reasons.

    Fulton said the name and the logo have been a part of his family for years, since many of his relatives attended Ypsilanti schools, including his father in 1935, before the nickname was changed to Braves.

    Getto wanted to see both the logo and the name retired because he said both offended the racial identity of Native Americans “to the core.’’

    ...Trustee Floyd Brumfield said the board should not disregard the students’ opinions, whatever it decides to do.

    DeVaughn Swanson and Kenyatta Lindsey, president and vice president, respectively, of the high school’s Student Council, raised their hands during the board’s discussion but were not allowed to speak. Believing the board did not want to hear them before making a decision, the two student representatives left the meeting.

    Trustees Amy Doyle and Kim Hoppe both agreed that board members would be abdicating their responsibility if they let students decide the matter.

    Hoppe suggested retaining the Braves name because “people are committed to tradition’’ and said she believed that 20 or 30 years from now, it might not be associated with Native Americans.

    Doyle said she wasn’t trying to “erase anyone’s memory’’ but believed “it’s time to leave behind the tradition and start a new one.’’ She also questioned the educational value of the “tradition.’’

    “I didn’t hear one person (during the public forums) say that being a ‘Brave’ helped them learn more or achieve more academically,’’ Doyle said.

    In researching how other schools dealt with the issue, Fanta said he contacted Bradley University, a private school in Peoria, Ill., that also has the Braves nickname.

    Fanta said he was told that the school had removed all Native American-related emblems and logos in 1992, but retained the name Braves and defined it as “courage,’’ and disassociated it from Native Americans.

    Karen Schaumann, a member of a school district committee that recommended retiring the logo, commended the board for its “moral courage’’ in making a “wise choice.’’ She reminded the board that this was not the first time the Ypsilanti school board had to deal with the issue.

    Schaumann was referring to what happened in 1991, when school board members voted to keep the logo and nickname.

    Despite Monday’s vote, Schaumann said she believes the matter still isn’t over.

    “I do believe this issue will come up again,’’ she said. ”

       —David Boyle (Ypsilanti High removes "Braves" logo)    May. 10 '06 - 02:39AM    #
  29. See today’s Daily, Daily Editor in Chief to join senior society: Managing Editor Ashley Dinges resigns, saying membership is a conflict of interest ,

    Donn Fresard, The Michigan Daily’s fall/winter editor in chief, recently announced plans to join the campus society formerly known as Michigamua.

    His decision has sparked a blaze of controversy at the Daily and prompted the second highest-ranking fall/winter editor to resign her post.

    Ashley Dinges, who was the paper’s managing editor, resigned July 2 on the grounds that Fresard’s membership in the group – which is composed of some of the campus’s most influential student leaders – will be a conflict of interest.

    The Daily often covers those leaders’ organizations and teams and also covers the group itself.

    “I am very sad to leave the Daily, which has been my second home since I came to the University,” Dinges said. “But the main reason I work at this paper is my love of journalism and I am not willing to compromise my journalistic integrity or my ethical beliefs.”

    Many top fall/winter editors have expressed their displeasure with Fresard’s decision for the same reasons. For years, no Daily editor in chiefs have been known to be in the society, but Fresard said it is now appropriate because of the group’s recent reforms. ...”

       —David Boyle    Jul. 10 '06 - 08:23PM    #
  30. Ok, this is OT, but related;

    Anyone have some good links to what happened a few years back when EMU went from Hurons to Eagles? I had heard that the Huron tribe actually didn’t want the name change, and that it was other native american activists who were not Hurons who pushed for the change. Any truth to that? While there are many a Native American characterization that are offensive and needed to be changed (i have no idea what the Ypsi Brave logo looks like), I wonder if this won’t work out in the long run to help make the presence of Native Americans leave no mark. I can imagine a little boy asking his dad at an EMU football game, “dad, what’s a Huron” in 50 years, but no way is a kid going to learn anything from the mascot of “eagle”

    also OT, but shoudn’t we all protest the Daily untill they stop calling anyone Editor in CHIEF??

       —Just a Voice    Jul. 10 '06 - 10:13PM    #
  31. I respect the move, but it sounds like its a doing pretty decent amount of damage to Donn’s staff. I would have expected the EIC to do what’s right, even if that means sacrificing an opportunity.

       —Daniel Adams    Jul. 11 '06 - 10:27PM    #
  32. AA News today, Michigan Daily editor resigns in protest: Managing editor calls editor-in-chief’s ties to Michigamua a conflict of interest ,

    “Since her first day on the University of Michigan campus three years ago, Ashley Dinges said she has considered the Michigan Daily newsroom her second home.

    But now the 21-year-old senior has resigned her job as the paper’s managing editor because the fall/winter editor-in-chief, Donn Fresard, plans to join a group of student leaders formerly known as Michigamua. ...

    “Even though Donn might not be editing stories about the group itself, there will still be plenty of stories about the other leaders and their organizations, too,’’ said Dinges, speaking from California, where she’s working as a summer intern at the San Jose Mercury News. “I think it’s so far-reaching, it’s something the editor of the newspaper should not be involved in.’’

    But Fresard, a 20-year-old senior political science major from Grosse Pointe Woods, insists that getting involved in one’s community is a common practice among newspaper editors.

    “For the Daily, this group serves the same purpose as the editor of a local paper going to Rotary Club meetings, or being on the board of a major charity that also includes city leaders,’’ he said. “If you can remain independent-minded, obviously, then I think there’s no real danger of conflict of interest.’’ ...”

       —David Boyle    Jul. 18 '06 - 06:50AM    #
  33. Thanks for your attention to this important issue.

       —Karen    Jul. 27 '06 - 08:32AM    #