Much of the talk about Michigamua, and the crux of the lawsuit filed last week in Washtenaw County Court, is a 1989 agreement between the university, Michigamua, and Native American students, that the organization would abandon all references to Native American Culture. In 2000, 11 years after that agreement was signed, the Student of Color Coalition discovered that the organization’s “Wigwam” in the Michigan Union still held many authentic and imitation Native American artifacts in violation of their agreement to abandoned this part of their identity.
Before now, I have only read about this agreement, and never seen a copy for myself. Yet a copy of the lawsuit sent to me contained it as an addendum. I’ve already run the text of the complaint, but here’s an image of the 1989 agreement in question. (Or click on the image to the right.) It’s quite straight forward, with the organization promising to eliminate “all references to Native American culture and pseudo-culture and extensions and parodies thereof, with the one exception being the name, Michigamua, for now and forever.”
The Daily has recently published some commentary about the meaning of this document, their editorial board weighing in on the side of activists in January. Here are a couple opposing op-eds which ran in response:
> ” Michigamua has troubled past”
> “Looking to the future by learning from the past”