DS letter to editor

Changing the name is not an issue of education or money

To the editor,

Despite what our "Fighting Sioux Graduate Student" Mike Grosz might like to believe, UND is not a community united. The name and logo do not bring the campus together as a while; rather it allows certain groups of people to feel united and proud at the expense of those people it is supposedly meant to honor. The "Sioux" name is about respect and honor, as long as we use it to honor our mostly white sports teams and parade out "generous" alumni around like deities, completely ignoring the Native American students who respectfully, often tearfully, try to explain the hatred and discrimination that are born of this name.

Jon Sickler thinks we should keep the name and view it from an "educational perspective." I agree that education is important; as a member of the Student Government subcommittee, the Multicultural Awareness Committee I have made a strong commitment to education on multicultural issues. But this is not an issue of education. This is an issue of oppression. This is an issue of white students telling Native American students that the need white people to educate them on their own culture. This is just another example of the majority turning away from the reality of the oppression of Native American students on this campus and saying "Sit down, shut up, and feel honored."

There is some concern that alumni contributions will be at stake should the name and logo change. This may be a valid concern, or it may not be. Other institutions that have dropped Native American mascots have rarely shown a decrease in alumni contributions, and some have seen increases. But money isn't (or rather, shouldn't) be the issue. The issue is ethics. It is right to sacrifice the emotional and sometimes even physical well-being of students in order to appease certain alumni and keep their checkbooks open.

Why are we willing to make such a sacrifice? I believe in the quality of education I have received at this institution, and I know other alumni believe in that as well. If certain alumni have no respect for the education the received, for the time given to them by faculty members and other staff persons for their personal enrichment, and are only willing to donate to this institution because of a name on a jersey, then they are belittling and demeaning everything that UND stands for.

UND is supposed to be the "flagship institution." Don't let the flag that we carry before us be one of hatred, oppression, and compromised integrity.

Chris Stoner