Opinion

Iron Arrow insults its roots

I am sure everyone was annoyed by that incessant drumming that echoed throughout the entire campus last week. But have you ever stopped to find out who those people are or what they are doing? Or do you simply write them off, figuring that they are performing some strange archaic ritual involving drumming and possibly the sacrifice of a virgin?

On the contrary, those drummers (if they can be called that) belong to Iron Arrow, a group that hails itself as the most prestigious honor society in the school. This group, purportedly founded by a man who was part Native American himself, has come under fire recently from many of our Native American students and faculty. And it is not about the quality of their drumming.

The complaint is being raised by more and more people with an increasing amount of vehemence: Many feel that Iron Arrow is insulting to Native Americans and their history. Among the most grievous criticisms of Iron Arrow are its suggestive name along with the appropriation of traditional Seminole patchwork jackets and of course the use of drumming, which is considered sacred in Native American rituals.

Many members of Iron Arrow refute these claims, holding that they are not acting disrespectfully towards Native Americans, and they do not see the adoption of aspects of their culture as mocking or belittling. After all, Iron Arrow has been doing these things for years upon years, so why should they change now?

However, the fact still remains that many people are insulted. Some feel that the society might have acted out of respect when it was started, but by now, they have lost the meaning of the jackets and the drumming and do not give them the respect they are due. Others simply feel that Iron Arrow had no right to use these cultural icons in the first place.

Whatever the feelings on either side may be, I urge Iron Arrow to seriously evaluate their organization. They may not feel they are doing anything wrong, but if a considerable group of people, Native American and non-Native American alike, are offended, then something must be changed. The organization cannot turn a deaf ear to criticism and staunchly refuse change as long as they are insulting students and faculty at this university.

I am not quite sure if Iron Arrow will have the good sense to take action and assuage the situation. However, it is not enough to simply accuse the Native American dissenters of being too touchy. After all, their feelings of discontent are valid. And my feeling is this: After stealing an entire continent from them through deceit and murder, can’t we at least listen to their complaints?

Travis Atria is a sophomore majoring in English literature.

April 26, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Anthony Solomon will head north for his college football career. The St. Thomas Aquinas linebacker a ...

A day after naming Ephraim Banda and Jonathan Patke co-defensive coordinators, the Miami Hurricanes ...

It doesn’t matter if the number is actually 21 or it’s just what Jeremiah Payton estimates now. Twen ...

The Miami Hurricanes didn’t waste long to find their replacements for Manny Diaz at defensive coordi ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have to try to get revenge on the Wisconsin Badgers without perhaps their ...

The Foote Fellows Honors Program offers students added flexibility to pursue multiple academic inter ...

Commencement speakers share gems of insight and wisdom as more than 1,000 UM students graduate in tw ...

During a news conference Wednesday, a UM medical team talked about the clinical findings after exami ...

Your one-stop shop for University of Miami fall commencement information. ...

The University of Miami will welcome more than 1,000 new graduates into the UM alumni family during ...

The No. 24/22 Miami women's basketball team turned in another stellar defensive performance Sun ...

Hurricanes Name Banda, Patke Co-Defensive Coordinators; Promote Simpson to Associate Head Coach ...

The Hurricanes hosted their annual Football Awards Show Saturday at Gusman Hall, honoring the 2018 S ...

The No. 24/22 Miami women's basketball team will conclude its three-game homestand Sunday at 1 ...

World Series champion and UM baseball All-American Jon Jay will headline the 2019 First Pitch Banque ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.