Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 4, November 2011

Peace Pipe trophy a thing of the past
Condensed by Native Village

Ohio: Since 1919, the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University have been football rivals. The two campuses are only 25 miles apart, and most of that distance is covered by (Interstate) I-75.

In 1948, the schools began a new tradition: the Peace Pipe Trophy. The trophy was kept by the winning team until their game the following season.

In respect for the Native-American community, UT and BGSU have agreed to retire the Peace Pipe trophy.  The pipe's spiritual symbolism and the NCAA’s stand on Native American nicknames and symbols led to the decision.  lt will be replaced by the Battle of I-75 Trophy designed by Jeff Artz. Artz also designed the Biletnikoff Award Trophy awarded to America's top collegiate wide receiver.

“After discussing the issue with Native American leaders, as well as with BGSU athletic director Greg Christopher, we felt it was best to discontinue awarding the Peace Pipe to the winner of our annual football contest,” said UT Athletic Director. Mike O’Brien. “We also felt this decision was consistent with the NCAA’s position regarding the use of Native American nicknames and symbolism. We look forward to a new chapter in our great football rivalry with the Falcons. We think the Battle of I-75 Trophy will serve as a great symbol for this rivalry for years to come.”

Said BGSU athletic director Greg Christopher, "Our fans, teams and the media have been identifying with the 'Battle of I-75' for several years so the name change will connect immediately. Mike O'Brien and I considered the sensitivity and we know this is the right thing to do. We are thrilled with the new trophy and it looks terrific. I would like to thank Jeff Artz for the work he did in creating an outstanding piece."

Diane Bishop is director of the Native American Women’s Alliance and a University of Toledo graduate. She said retiring the Peace Pipe Trophy is a positive step toward combating Native American stereotypes.

“I applaud both the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University for their open dialogue ... and their voluntarily discontinuing a trophy that perpetuated a stereotype of the past,” Bishop said. “Dialogue and education are the roads to understanding, and both universities led the way with their quick and respectful response regarding this issue.”

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