Student senator defends decision on cast logo vote

To the editor,

On Sunday, the Student Senate discussed whether to change the Fighting Sioux Logo. In preparation for this important dialogue, I discussed this issue with numerous individuals across campus as well as sent e-mails to many in my constituency. My fellow Greeks, I heard your arguments, received your phone messages, and read your e-mails with careful thought and understanding, and I struggled with the best way to represent you at this meeting. Despite the fact that many of you feel keeping the Fighting Sioux logo is the right thing to do, I cannot agree with you. Therefore, on the January 31, 1999, I voted that the UND Student Senate take a stand to change the logo, and here's why.

First, in this issue, we are dealing with a group of people who have been and continued to be discriminated against. Native Americans played no role in the selection of this logo. "Fighting Sioux" is a caricature of how we see Native Americans, not how they really are or how they see themselves.

Second, the majority of Native Americans feel that the use of these logos is deeply hurtful. The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe passed a unanimous resolution asking UND to change the name. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe also passed a similar resolution. In addition, many national Native American organizations have passed resolutions against the use of Native American caricatures in mascots and logos, including the National Indian Education Association, and the National Congress of American Indians.

Finally, I voted to change the logo because it is the right thing to do. This is not an issue that should be decided by polls, money, or any other type of politics. It comes down to the rights and liberties of all people. I know how upset many will be if the Logo is changed, but I also know how this issue will continue to divide UND. And that is not in the best interest of my school.

This vote is probably one of the hardest that I have had to cast. However, The bottom line is what is the right thing to do and what is best for UND, and to me the answer, though difficult to face, is pretty clear.

I hope in this vote that I met the University of North Dakota's mission by being a student who aims "to share responsibility both for communities and for the world."

Elizabeth A. Hanson
Greek Housing Senator