Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, CMU dedicates mural on Indigenous People's Day


Speaker Colleen Greens speaks to the audience about the new mural, Oct. 10, in the Bovee University Center lobby. 

Just outside the Rotunda in the Bovee University Center, artist Alan Compo’s mural is a reflection of Native American experiences. 

On Oct. 10, the colorful mural was unveiled for the first time to a crowd that filled the lobby of the UC. The dedication was accompanied by several speakers.

Each speaker emphasized the cultural significance of the mural and the cultural bridge Central Michigan University has with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT).

One of the event’s speakers was Theresa Jackson, chief of SCIT.

“We continue to build bridges and we hope our relationship with the university will last forever,” said Jackson.

One of the speakers and organizers of the event was Colleen Green, director of Native American Programs at CMU. According to Green, the commissioning for the mural, as well as the funding came directly from the Office of the President in an effort to emphasize the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's continuing presence in university life. 

"We are still here," Green said, "we are resilient."

Compo was instructed to leave the metal Michigan outline intact – which was already on the wall – and include the tribal land boundaries in the state today.

Central Michigan University dedicates a new Native American mural Oct. 10, in the Bovee University Center lobby. Michigan artist Alan Compo created the new mural.


There is also a list of tribes federally recognized by the U.S. next to the mural. 

“We want to make sure that we were recognizing all of our students and all of our indigenous communities throughout the United States,” said Green.

Another aspect of the unveiling was a performance by Onion Creek, which was significant in creating ties between the ceremony and tribal culture, according to Vito Buckanaga, one of the performers. 

“The drum is something that brings us all together,” Buckanaga said, “and that’s something that we do here today.”

The name of the group, Onion Creek, comes from the name of a creek that runs through the Saginaw Tribe’s reservation. Buckanaga said this creates a connection for the group back to their homelands no matter how far they travel to perform.