Target: Dr. Susan Martin, President of Eastern Michigan University
Goal: Expel students who donned racist red face paint and harassed a Native American man.
A Native American man was allegedly harassed by students at Eastern Michigan University who had painted their faces red and were wearing traditional headdresses when he pointed out that those actions were offensive, according to reports. This kind of racism is the product of centuries of anti-Native American genocide and hate and should not be tolerated. Demand that all the students found to have been involved in this incident be expelled at once.
Eastern Michigan University is investigating claims that a number of its students threw a “Red Face party” to “honor” the school’s historical mascot, the Hurons. Though the university exercised its better judgement several decades ago and changed its mascot to the Eagles, the 30 to 40 students at this party refused to retire the old mascot, allegedly donning red face paint and traditional Native American headdresses.
Nathan Phillips, a member of the Omaha Nation who happened upon the party, was waved over by the some of the students, who allegedly told him “We are Hurons and we are doing a ceremony to impregnate women.” Phillips responded by telling them that what they were doing was obviously racist and offensive. He claims that he was then shouted at to “Go back to the reservation, you F-ing Indian, get the F out of here,” and that someone threw a beer can at him before he could leave.
The university is investigating these allegations, but it is unknown how severely the students responsible for this racism will be punished. Sign the petition below to demand that the students found responsible by the school for this bigoted display be expelled immediately.
Dear President Martin,
I am writing you today regarding the alleged “Red Face” party some of your students hosted, as well as their alleged harassment of Nathan Phillips, a Native American man who pointed out to them that the party was racist. Too often universities become hotbeds of the oppressive structures our society is built on—it is the responsibility of college administrations to do everything in their power to combat that tendency.
It should not need to be pointed out that the party these students threw, and their harassment of Phillips, was shamelessly racist. Red face has been used for centuries to caricature Native Americans and justify their persecution, relocation, and genocide nationwide. It is used today to continue to deny Native Americans dignity and enforce white supremacy.
Due to the fact that these students actively hurled racist remarks at Phillips when he confronted them about their attire, their use of red face and feather headdresses at this party cannot be written off as young people doing something stupid because they didn’t know any better. There was racist hostility in their actions. I demand that, after the conclusion of your investigation into these accusations, you immediately expel all the students found responsible for wearing red face and harassing Phillips.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons