Ute tribal member says ‘Don’t speak for me!’

I got strong response on my column this week, suggesting that the University of Utah should drop its nickname. Although the name has been been approved by the Ute Tribe, some activists prefer all Native American nicknames be abolished.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 8.35.37 AMOn Thursday I received this e-mail. The italicized portion was in the body of the e-mail, the rest was in an attachment:

Hasn’t this gone far enough? I am a Ute and those who fight for us are not. Why do people think they can speak for us when they don’t know what they are talking about.  I just wrote this up, could you give it to those who might look at it  and consider a different thinking? Thankyou

Call me NucWemia Mia, I am a Southern Ute. I am also the grandson of a Lemhi Shoshoni who are the same people of Sacagawea who led the Louis & Clark exhibition.  I was known by another name when I was in student government many years ago. But my heritage is real so the name sticks for now.

I am writing today to give my two cents worth on all this Native American stuff from one who is of authority and not people or students who are not. I am also a former student at Utah and my brother and my youngest son both played football as “Utes”. My son was recruited by coaches Wittingham and Mac and played as a tight end under Coach Meyer. I was a member of the Utah track team years ago.

This thing about offending us I think has gone haywire. There is no offense if students paint their bodies red. That is our school color! There is no insult to our people! We are not red men either! That connection has always been a white man thing! We have never called ourselves that!  And heaven forbid if I come with a feather headdress to a game and I am escorted off the field for it!  That would be totally wrong as I have the right to dress in my traditional clothing. Where does this end? Now Students South of us cannot paint themselves blue? Stupid. And wearing headdresses? Wouldn’t it be cool if we all came in Native attire to a game!! Wow would that ever do honor to our people and recognize the connection to the school!!!

We are all proud to live where the name means “Mountain Place” that is what Utah means. What name other than a “Ute” can anyone from our University call themselves?! And the logo? That is no tribal logo but a representation of a people. Legally the entire issue has no part in law at all. The feather and shield is the logo for the University of Utah. Trademarks are a matter of law and not dictated by any people including mine. Are Scandinavian people offended if someone puts horns on a helmet depicting Vikings?

And the mascot thing. We are not birds. We are not red rocks. In time are Piutes, Goshutes, Southern Utes, and Northern Utes going to need to abandon our own name because someone thinks it offends us? I am offended by all this silliness. Are we going to be required some day to change who we are and become Red Birds? Birds are not Utes. I hate that thing. If there is worry of offending a native then get rid of that bird. That is not a Ute. We are not Red Rocks either. We are all Utes and proud to be so whether students at Utah, fans of our teams, residents of Utah, or Native people. A Ute is what we are. Even the blue folks from Provo are ‘Utes’ too whether they like that or not. It Is where we all live.  I am a Ute. The real thing in every way. Get rid of that silly bird and rock. Be proud of what is the truth. What we are.

And last but not at all least. I grew up “across the green” just a mile South of the campus. Leave our fight song alone!!! I am a Utah Man sir, not a ‘Utah person’. My wife and my daughters are the fairest you have ever seen. They are not “fair non genders”  I am proud to have transgender and gay people in our family but that does not force me to become one too.  End all that ridiculous issue as well. I was a student leader in many positions back in the 60s’ We had idiots trying to change things for stupid reasons back then as well. This one must end along with all the other stupid things that are trying to mess with good traditions and sanity.

Creepy do gooders go away!! Leave all us ‘Utes’ alone. The rest of us are offended by your meddling. You do not have permission to represent the rest of us in your silly ideas.

NucWemia Mia

Ute poll
Is the author right, that it's a silly issue?

Ute poll continued
Are there too many non-Native Americans making decisions about the Ute Tribe's ties to the University?

16 comments

  1. ekute

    Well said Mr. NucWemia Mia. You are a true UTAH UTE. I’m proud to support you, your family, your people and your Alma Mater. GO UTES!

  2. Anonymous

    I think this is a great article with the input from someone who has the “right” to make such statements. Everyone else who disagrees, worry about your own life. The utes are NOT an endangered species who need a voice to speak for them like so many activists do. They are their own sovereign nation that decides the rules and jurisdictions which govern their lives. We should be proud and homered to represent the name “Ute” as a utah man am I!

  3. Rich

    Fantastic prospective! I moved here twenty two years ago from New York and have made Utah my adopted home. I am of Welsh/Irish heritage and truly enjoy, respect and appreciate the Utah Utes for the tradition and culture that is a part of my Utah experience. In a time of hyper sensitive political correctness and a FEW people seemingly speaking for the masses, it refreshing to get the view of someone with such great prospective. I would love to see a Ute day during a home game when everyone dressed in native wear to pay respect. Thanks for the intelligent prospective.

  4. Rick Saldana

    I’m glad to hear from someone who is a real Ute. This nonsense has got to end. Politically correct people please go away!

    If you are not a Ute, don’t attend or have attended the University of Utah, or are not part of the administration staff of the UofU please butt out. You don’t have a dog in this fight.

    If it’s not offensive to real Utes, then you (as a non-Ute) should have no say in this argument. Just because you feel it’s wrong to use an Native American name, that does not give you the right to make the decision for them.

    If real Utes have no problem with the UofU using the name, then it’s time to end this politically correct madness.

    The UofU has already stated that should the time come when the Ute Indian Tribe no longer wants their name associated with the university, they will stop using it. End of story.

    By the way, unless and until someone can come up with much better lyrics, keep the Ute fight song as it is! Changing it to make it politically correct is infuriating to me. If you can’t improve it, leave it alone.

    By the way, I have two reasons for posting this. Though I am not a Ute tribal member, I do have Native American blood coursing through my veins. I also attended school at the UofU and feel a great bond to the school. I’ll be a Ute forever. Go Utes!

  5. Asosan

    Hey Rockmonster, I can’t understand why activists are only concerned about Native Americans. Get on the band wagon! Let’s get rid of all mascots named after humans/races such as Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Titans, Saints, Buccaneers, Raiders, 49ers, Yankees, Pirates, Astros, Mariners, Rangers, Dodgers, Celtics, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Knights, Tar Heels, Fighting Irish, Hokies, Volunteers, Minutemen, Colonials, Explorers, Mountaineers, Friars, Lumberjacks, Boilermakers, Matadors, Aggies, Gauchos, Pilots, Trojans, Govenors, Pioneers, Miners, Crusaders, Highlanders, Quakers, etc. These mascots are demeaning to these groups except maybe the Govenors.

  6. Gary Jones

    That is awesome. Thank you NucWemia Mia. I am proud to be a Utah Man, and so is my wife. We are Utes (per NucWemia Mia)!

  7. Spencer C

    I wholeheartedly agree with this email! Brad Rock is typically one of my favorite authors, but I think he has gone way to PC. I’d love to hear more from Ute tribal members to know if they are personally offended. Typically when you name someone after someone else it is in remembrance or honor or that individual; not out of spite or disrespect. I love that this individual shared how silly it is- because Mr. Brad Rock- IT IS SILLY!! There are too many problems to consider and we are focusing on what the mascots and names are for football teams? Come on. Let’s focus on other issues that are truly concerning like, unemployment, economy, crime, etc. This is frankly stupid. Having said that, I am sure Brad Rock has his reasons for writing this and he is entitled to his opinion. I am grateful he was willing to share an opinion that is not his own.

  8. BUBBA

    Last fall I was on the Navajo reservation for a few days. I was amazed at how many Washington Redskin jerseys and hats I saw.

  9. Rodney Cluff

    Proud to have been born and raised in Utah and to be known as a Ute too. The letter was needed at this time and I hope goes out to more venues. Hope there is no objections to posting it to our Facebook page.

  10. Bruce Gibby

    NucWemia Mia really has it right.

    “I am offended by all this silliness….. I am proud to have transgender and gay people in our family but that does not force me to become one too. ….This one must end along with all the other stupid things that are trying to mess with good traditions and sanity. ….Creepy do gooders go away!! Leave all us ‘Utes’ alone. The rest of us are offended by your meddling.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with his statements. If the GWICs (Gringos What’s In-Charge) insist, here are some suggested new names for the Utah Utes: The Whites (fits well with Whities and after all no prejudice here); the Dry Wind or the Arid (reflecting the desert climate); the No-Names (may be least offensive); the Diversities; the Indigenous’; or the Illegals (since the white men, who were the first illegals decimated and suppressed the native Americans and built the university).

    An arriving intelligent alien would declare “You can’t make this stuff up.” My reply is that our misguided Liberal/Progressive friends already have.

    NucWemia Mia has shown us the way to either Rise and Shout or move Onward and Upward—or any other positively intended slogan. I thank him for attempting to bring some sanity into the situation.

  11. hamaca

    From ESPN’s Rick Reilly column 9/18/13:

    “White America has spoken. You aren’t offended, so we’ll be offended for you.”

    “Edmundo Macedo, vice president of ESPN’s Stats & Information group, told ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte that the term Redskins is abhorrent. “We would not accept anything similar as a team nickname if it were associated with any other ethnicity or any other race,” Macedo said.

    Oh, yes, we would.

    In fact, ESPN and many other media companies cover the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves without a single searing search of their social conscience.

    Doesn’t matter. The 81-year-old Washington Redskins name is falling, and everybody better get out of the way. For the majority of Native Americans who don’t care, we’ll care for them. For the Native Americans who haven’t asked for help, we’re glad to give it to them.

    Trust us. We know what’s best. We’ll take this away for your own good, and put up barriers that protect you from ever being harmed again.

    Kind of like a reservation.”

  12. Bradley Morris

    I come from the era of the Runnin’ Redskins… I really miss our original name actually.

  13. Brucer

    NucWemia Mia, As a cougar fan, thanks for the infusion of sanity into the discussion. Thanks also for reminding us all that we’re Utes, regardless of where we live in Utah. –Ute, proud of it, and cheering for the Cougars.

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