I absolutely don’t want this to be a huge argument about the sensitivities of one group over another. I am just concerned about something.
Yesterday, I was getting gas at a station that is on Native American sovereign land. The gas is quite a bit cheaper than most places in California. I just happened to be wearing my University of Utah cap which has the U surrounded by a circle with two feathers coming off the left. It’s just in my rotation of caps along with the Dodgers, Syracuse, and my 2003 Syracuse wins the NCAA championship (yeah, I’m obsessed).
A rather robust Native American dude walked up to me and accused me of appropriating his culture and he found it offensive. He said I was just like those Atlanta Braves fans (which really hurt). I explained what it meant, that my university were called the Utes in honor of the local tribe. He then asked if the university had explicit permission to do so.
I actually didn’t have the answer. I think I’ve read something that the Ute tribe was OK with it, but I can’t find a document that says, “you can do this as you are honoring our culture.” Or something.
I don’t want opinion. I would like to know that my school has a firm agreement with the Utes to actually do this. Even when I was a student at the U back in the Late Cretaceous, I don’t think we did anything as offensive as Atlanta Braves’ fans. And I don’t think our logo is disrespectful or in anyway mocking their culture.
OK, I’ve written too much. I just want to know if I should put away my hat into a box and buy another Utah hat.