Call to Action to Retire "Drum and Feather" Logo and "Ute" Nickname
  • Petitioning President Pershing

This petition will be delivered to:

University of Utah
President Pershing
VP Institutional Advancement
Fred Esplin
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Bill Warren
Acting Associate VP of Equity and Diversity
Dr. Ed Buendia

Call to Action to Retire "Drum and Feather" Logo and "Ute" Nickname

    1. Samantha Eldridge
    2. Petition by

      Samantha Eldridge

      Salt Lake City, UT

It is time the University of Utah end the misappropriation of Native American traditions, customs and symbols and retire the "Drum and Feather" logo and "Ute" nickname.

For decades, Native Americans and non-Native Americans from across the nation have protested the use of Native American mascots, nicknames and logos citing the discriminatory and harmful nature of such images.  By allowing University of Utah students and fans to wear Native American headdresses, paint their faces red and “play Indian” throughout campus, at tailgating events and in the football stadium, the University of Utah is unilaterally allowing the denigration and mockery of Native American traditions, customs and religious symbols. 

Research clearly establishes that use of such imagery misrepresents Native Americans and perpetuates the ongoing discrimination against Native Americans, negatively impacts student learning, and creates a hostile learning environment (Fryberg et al., 2003, 2008; Kim-Prieto, Goldstein, Okazaki, and Kirschner, 2010). And whether intended or not, the use of mascots, logos and nicknames stereotype, marginalize, intimidate and harm Native American students and undermines the educational experience of all students especially those who have little or no contact with Native Americans (2005 APA Resolution).

Native Americans have the lowest high school graduation rates across the nation and are the smallest population represented in postsecondary education.  The perpetuation of harmful stereotypes through the use of nicknames and logos only exacerbate these problems.  This is evident at the University of Utah where it has never seen enrollment surpass 187 Native American students in the past five years (University of Utah Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis).  The stereotyping of any racial or ethnic group by any institution is unacceptable.  Schools have a responsibility to educate their students, they should not use their influence to perpetuate misrepresentations of any culture or people (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights). 

This is why the Indigenous Students and Allies for Change (ISAC) call for the immediate retirement of the “Drum and Feather” logo and “Ute” nickname.  It is time the University of Utah educate our student body about modern day Indigenous peoples and promote a safe and respectful learning environment that is conducive to the educational attainment of all students.

"The fact is, if somebody is hurt, if one person in this room is hurt from all that - I think, racism - then we have to listen. We have to listen to that one person." - Dennis Banks, Ojibwe leader and co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), on use of "Drum and Feather" logo and "Ute" nickname.

President Pershing, University of Utah
Fred Esplin, VP Institutional Advancement
Bill Warren, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Dr. Ed Buendia, Acting Associate VP of Equity and Diversity
Call to Action to Retire "Drum and Feather" Logo and "Ute" Nickname

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 750 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Angela Paige OREM, UT
      • 8 months ago

      Because I believe in Equality and Fairness among people. To allow such things to happen gives a green light to those who would seek harm to Native Americans.

    • Patsy Desautel COULEE DAM, WA
      • 8 months ago

      Native inspired mascots are perpetuating negative sterotypes of my ancestors.

      • 8 months ago

      Time for white folks to stop making asses of ourselves.

    • Luis Alegria SALT LAKE CITY, UT
      • 9 months ago

      In no way, shape, or form do you honor a culture by appropriating objects and symbols that are sacred to them.

    • Amy Urbanek SALT LAKE CITY, UT
      • 10 months ago

      As a U of U alum, and a current employee, I find that these outdated logos and mascots are an embarrassment, and see every day with my students that they create an unwelcoming environment for Native American students. They are completely unnecessary. Swoop is a perfectly good mascot, no need to denigrate a culture for sports. (and don't get me started on the embarrassing Utah fight song). The university will get no alumni donations from me as long as they are in use.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.