This seems like a fitting story for one of the last EMUTalk posts: From The Daily Mail comes “Awkward moment an emu mistakes an American tourist for a sex partner as he lies on his back to take photos of the amorous bird.” The headline is better than the pictures and video in the article, though the pictures and video are pretty good.
I was going to post the email that Geoff Larcom sent around about this, but then this morning, I see it’s been picked up by the mainstream media too. The best story comes from WXYZ channel 7 (Detroit’s ABC affiliate), “EMU investigating allegations of racism where off-campus students were dressed as Native Americans.”
The video is definitely worth watching. Basically, Nathan Phillips, who is described as a Native American man in his 60s who has lived in Ypsi for eight years, came across a loud party last weekend. Here’s a quote from this piece that explains what happened next.
When he approached closer, he saw about 30 to 40 students partying and noticed that about half of them were wearing “Redface” and sporting feathered headpieces.
Phillips asked the students what they were doing. They told him they were honoring Native Americans and told Phillips, “We’re the F-ing Hurons!” EMU’s nickname used to be the Hurons before the university changed it to the Eagles in the ‘90s.
Phillips responded, “This isn’t honoring us, this is racist. And as soon as I said ‘racist,’ it turned from honoring the Indians to, ‘Go back to the reservation, you F-ing Indian, get the F out of here.’”
In the scuffle, someone threw a beer can at Phillips.
The video also features Michelle Lietz, vice president of the Native American Student Organization at EMU (who is also a grad student in my department, by the way), and she said she and her organization worked all week to get EMU to investigate this. To quote again from the piece, “Lietz said, ‘It’s a great opportunity for them to finally come out and condemn this sort of behavior.'”
First off, this is obviously stupid and condemnable behavior, so I do hope EMU comes out with some kind of statement or action that is a little more “meaty” than “We’re going to look into this and get to the bottom of things.” Second though, since this happened off-campus, I’m not sure there’s much that EMU can do about it.
But third, isn’t really about time to put this “we’ll always be the Hurons!” nonsense to rest? Honestly, it’s been over 20 years now that EMU’s mascot switched to the Eagles. The “F-ing Hurons” involved in this incident weren’t even born yet.
And I think this is just another example of the mistake of not picking up the emu as a mascot, too. I have no evidence to support this claim of course, but I’m completely convinced (in my own head) that had we become the EMU Fighting Emus none of these “Always a Huron” incidents would have taken place because they wouldn’t make sense. I mean, sure, we were the Hurons, but how cool is it now that we’re the emus?!
From the Ypsilanti Courier comes “EMU to name renovated home for housing special University guests in honor of outgoing President Susan Martin.”
I had actually heard about this before because the EMU PR folks had invited me to an open house event for “emu house” last week– I couldn’t attend because of some other stuff on my schedule, unfortunately. Anyway, “emu house” is at 526 St. John’s Street, which is across the street from the dorms Best Hall and Wise Hall, and (for those of us who have been here a while) it used to be the EMU Credit Union way back in the day.
The place has been refinished into a guest house which (the article says) could be used for “visitors performing at Pease Auditorium for extended periods, new leaders who are unable to locate a residence quickly and others visiting the University for a major event.” Oh, also important to note here: emu house was made possible by the generous support of Ken Fine and his wife, Rebecca Canary, and also to William and Delores Brehm, who donated a lot of the furniture.
I think this is a great idea because we don’t really have a place on campus to house people who are here for an extended stay. For example (and this is also a plug), my friend and former colleague Annette Saddik has been at EMU this semester off and on as the McAndless Distinguished Scholar– she’s giving a talk tomorrow in the student center called “‘Act Naturally’: Embracing the Monstrous Woman in Tennessee Williams’ Late Plays”– and I know that it would have been a heck of a lot easier to put her up for a week or so at a time in this space had it been available. My hope is we can house future McAndless Scholars (and other visiting scholars) here.
But what of the name? Here’s a quote from the article:
The house is named “emu house,” which connects it to both the University and the large, flightless bird native to Australia, a few of which Rebecca adopted over 15 years ago and which still live (and infrequently reproduce) on their property.
The house will be renamed the “Susan W. Martin emu house” within 30 days of her final day as president and will retain that name for at least the next 100 years or until it has reached the end of its useful life. The plaque designating the new name of the house and honoring President Martin will be installed by early fall.
Of course, the real tribute would be a change of mascot, but one step at a time.
A friend of the site sent me this Emu-related bit of news, “Watch This Runaway Emu Sprint Through Israeli Traffic In The Rain.” Besides this little video and Emu story, this line caught me: “This is the second exotic animal to make a break for it in Israel in the past week. On Thursday, three rhinoceros from the Ramat Gan zoo took a leisurely stroll out of their enclosure upon realizing the gate had not been locked.”
First off, I just want to point out yet another obvious mascot renaming/rebranding opportunity was missed with Eastern’s move away from “The Hurons.” As I’ve said before and I will say again, I don’t understand why we didn’t just give up on the stereotypical American Indian logo and stick with “Huron” generally– there’s a lake, a river, a street, a county, etc., etc. But if a name change had to happen, we obviously should have become the Emus, and with that name change, we could have started what would could have been the greatest series of rivalries in all of college sport: Emus versus Kangaroos.
Alas, “eagles.” Lame.
By the way, according to this info page at “GoZips.com,” the original name for the University of Akron team was the “Zippers,” and it was “officially” shortened to the Zips in 1950. The kangaroo thing (that’s “Zippy,” by the way) came about in 1953 as the result of some kind of student council contest.
Anyway, it looks like it might be kind of a boring/lopsided game because Akron is favored by 25 and it’s not like the Zips are competing for the national title or something. So here’s a video of emus and kangaroos fighting instead:
The game starts in Akron at 2 pm. A more serious preview of the match-up is provided by our friends over at Eagle Totem here.
Kind of on the slow-side in terms of news and events heading into the weekend. so I thought I’d share a video of “Emus dancing,” though it is more like “Emus twitching about with a soundtrack added by someone else.”