Though their name is plastered all over the campus and "Go Utes!" is the rallying cry at sporting events, some real Utes say they don't get much recognition from the University of Utah.
"The use of the name has a lot of at tachments from the tribe's point of view, and we've had a lot of comment and discussion as to what is proper," said Larry Blackhair, White River representative on the Ute Tribal Council.U. President Arthur K. Smith precipitated the discussion last month with an offer to drop the Ute name if tribal members find its use by the school to be offensive. He made the offer during a meeting he initiated with tribal leaders to discuss their request for more outreach, recruiting and scholarships.
Blackhair said tribal council members this week were "formulating a response" to Smith's proposal. He added they hope to arrange another meeting with U. officials to talk about the Ute name along with the issue of educational opportunities for Ute students.
Smith insisted at the earlier meeting that the two issues could not be linked, arguing that if the Utes were offended by the use of the name, no amount of scholarship money could buy them off.
However, he said the U. would be willing to investigate ways to help Ute students meet university admission require-ments and obtain financial aid.
Tribal spokesman Larry Cesspooch said Ute leaders were not linking the continued use of the Ute name to scholarships either, though Smith seems to have interpreted it that way.
"We are saying, `If you want to honor us, don't paint your faces red and ride around on a horse carrying a spear, but turn around and make a positive, beneficial response to the Native American people of Utah,' " Cesspooch said.
According to Cesspooch and other tribal representatives, the university is doing far less for tribal members now than in the 1960s. Back then, he said, the U. actively recruited and assisted Ute students and offered them financial help in a "real partnership."
Now, tribal leaders say other institutions - particularly Utah State University, Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College - have better outreach programs among the Utes than the university that bears their name.
Blackhair noted that even a Colorado institution, Mesa State College in Grand Junction, has made scholarships available to Utes in Utah.
"(Mesa State's) reasoning was that it used to be our land, so out of respect, they are paying homage by offering scholarships," Blackhair said. He and other Utes wonder why the University of Utah "Utes" can't do as much.
"They (U. officials) are saying, `If you don't want us to use the Ute name, say soand we'll use another but don't ask us for money.' Money is not the issue here; it is a question of respect and recognition of a people," Blackhair said.
Smith deserves a lot of credit for addressing the issue openly and recognizing that the Utes have a say as to whether the university continues to use their name, Black-hair said.
Cesspooch said opinion among the Utes is divided. "My personal feeling is, I don't have a problem with the U. using the name if they treat it with respect. If they are calling themselves `Utes,' they should have no qualms about providing scholarships to Utes."
Ted Capener, vice president for university relations, said the U. strives to make it clear that it would do nothing "in the least bit disrespectful to Native Americans."
He said it was in that spirit that the university recently adopted a new sideline mascot - the Red-tailed Hawk - to replace the "Crimson Warrior" of its "Runnin' Redskins" era.
Like the Ute tribal leaders, university officials have heard from people on both sides of the issue.
According to Capener, "A majority of those we do hear from are strongly hopeful that we can continue to use the Ute name."