Term is historical
To the Journal editor:
Roger Magnuson’s letter lamented the use of the name “Yooper” for people who live in the Upper Peninsula, but the credit (or blame-depending on your viewpoint) for coining the term goes to a U. P. native, born and raised in Marquette.
The late Jim Treloar, son of longtime Mining Journal publisher W. H. “Waba” Treloar and a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, first used the “Yooper” term in a feature he wrote for his newspaper in the 1970s.
“Yooper” (U-Per) quickly caught on, much to the dismay of many of us north of the Mackinac Bridge. As a former Mining Journal reporter, I was one of them, vowing never to use the term in anything I wrote.
My former colleague at the Journal, the late Jim Trethewey, who was a staffer at the paper for over 40 years-his latter years serving as editor-was even more adamant against the term than I was.
Whenever he needed another name for the U. P. he used “Superiorland”-a name he had proudly coined back in the ’60s for use in the Journal.
We “Yoopers” are known to be a proud people-but not letting that get in the way of recognizing humor in our way of life, and laughing at ourselves.
Sure, Yooper can be taken as a less-than-respectful appellation. But I think many of us have come to accept the term and not to take it too seriously. Observe the many U. P. drivers who proudly sport it on their vehicles.
After all, Abe Lincoln was said to have coined the name “Michigander,” which didn’t set very well with residents of Michigan at the time.
We’ve come to live with that, too!