MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – The debate over whether or not Marquette Senior High School should change their Redmen/Redettes nickname has been the topic of conversation for weeks.
Now, the issue of whether a grant Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies received from the Native American Heritage Fund to support Anishinabek language classes is under question Friday after those opposing the name change believe it’s connected.
“These are people in our backyard getting money from this fund that’s to change the logo,” said Kelly Mead, a 1992 graduate of Marquette Senior High School.
At the last Marquette Area Public School Board of Education meeting, Mead presented information claiming the Native American Heritage Fund will support the Redmen/Redettes name change.
“So if Marquette Public Schools decides to change the nickname, who would actually receive all this money,” Mead asked.
We reached out to mead to ask for further comment but she declined our interview request.
Meantime, NMU’s School of Education Associate Dean Joe Lubig reassures the $134,612.80 grant has nothing to do with the nickname research.
The grant is being used for Anishinabek language classes.
MAPS Board of Education chose Joe Lubig to chair the Nickname Research Committee.
“It would be unethical and illegal for us to use those funds in any other way than described within the grant parameters,” explained Lubig.
Lubig explains if the Center for Native American Studies were to violate these terms, they’d have to send the money back affecting the center’s chances of expanding Native American language and culture throughout the community.
“NMU feels 100% obligated to respond the needs of its local community of which the Ojibwa and the Anishinabek culture is a huge component of that,” said Lubig. “Its sole focus, its only focus is to advance Anishinabek language with an existing content course work for the Native American Studies major and minor.”
MAPS Board of Education has yet to make a decision on the nickname change.
The school board explains several lengthy meetings still need to take place before coming to a resolution on this debate.