To the editor,
Colleen Smith and I would like to see a resolution to the "Fighting Sioux" issue. We feel that it is in the students' and University's best interests to pro-actively deal with the Dakota peoples' concerns. The students of UND shoudl have a voice in this process and not stand in the shadow of the administration.
It is unfortunate that the current leadership of our Universityhas allowed the student body to remain ignorant to the issues surrounding the "Fighting Sioux" logo and nickname. The situation as it currently stands is that representatives of the Dakota people are requesting and in some cases demanding the disuse of the Sioux logo and nickname. The tribal councils representing Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge/Oglala and the Three Affiliated Reservations have all passed resolutions requesting the University discontinue the use of the "Fighting Sioux" logo and nickname.
No "Sioux" tribe supports our use of this name. Furhtermore, the national organization representing Indian people and tribes, the National Congress of American Indians oppose the use of Indians as mascots.
It is the University administration which has the power to change the logo, and has two options facing it. The first is to provide the University with a logo that in part represents the University's commitment to non-discrimination, and also reflects the rich tradition and pride our institutions generate. The second is to continue to ignore these requests from the tribal councils and perhaps invite a legal battle. Some students will continue to support the use of the "Sioux" logo even when faced with nearly complete opposition from the Dakota people's representatives.
Our stand on the issue is that we are aware that many students do not want to change the logo, and that most fully intend to honor the Dakota with its use, and that such a change would affect people other than students. Howver this does not change the reality that representatives are petitioning the University to change the logo and their efforts cannot be ignored. It is my hope that students, faculty and everyone involved with our university is willing to put action behind the commitment of truly honoring and respecting the Dakota people.
Student Body Vice President Candidate