Friday, March 13, 2015

Red Raiders

As I clean out the last of  my mother's SMC memory box I am filled with such sweet memories of my own.  There are class lists, pictures, letters and the high school handbook (mimeographed of course) from 1964.  I was 13 years old - only in 7th grade at the time.

As I browsed through it (one reason going through this box of memories has taken me two weeks) I was filled with pride to see the explanation of our team name, symbol and colors. There are so many people that want the Indian Tribe names to be discontinued from use at the many colleges that I think the explanations have been lost.  Central Michigan University still uses the Chippewas with full support from the local Tribal Council.  That is because the University has classes about the Chippewas and uses the team name with pride and history behind it.  St. Mary Cathedral had that same pride.



The athletic teams of Cathedral High are nicknamed the "Red Raiders," a sobriquet which has its origin in the Indian lore of the Saginaw Valley.

Four or more centuries ago, the Sauk Indians made their homes, built their campfires, held their councils and smoked the calumet along the Saginaw River and its tributaries and gave the area their name, "Saug-e-nah," "Land of the Sauks."

The powerful Chippewas to the North, with envious eye on the beautiful Sauk country, its rich hunting grounds, its beautiful rivers and valleys with abundance of game and fish, longed to gain it by conquest.  In their counterattacks against the forays of the enemy, the peace-loving Sauks, became a formidable foe in the defense of their homeland.  Their young braves in sudden thrusts penetrated the land of the Chippewas as far North as Thunder Bay with such ferocity that they were given the name, "misk-maiadjitad,"  "Red Raiders."


The symbol of Cathedral High is the Tomahawk, the light ax used not only as a missile and as a hand weapon by the Sauks and other North American Indian tribes, but also as an implement of peace.  It is a small hand-hewn stone fastened to a forked stick by strong leather thongs.  The Indians used it to loosen the soil to plant corn and beans, to drive blackbirds from the field, to break weeds, and in due time, to gather the harvest.  With it, they cut wood for the campfire, cut animal skins for their clothing and their tepee dwellings and also fashioned boats out of the trees with the help of it and fire.  Truly that little stone hatchet to them was a symbol of protection from enemies and of provision for the necessities of life.


The school colors at Cathedral are red and white, both appropriate from the fact that its colors were once maroon and white and its team were called "Maroons" and from the fact that they are now named the "Red Raiders."

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