As expected, there has been a rash of letters both in support and in outcry over the recent "revelations" regarding Ralph Engelstad. I use the sarcastic quotes around revelations as the publication of Engelstad's letter to Kupchella has only confirmed what advocates for changing the name and logo have known all along: It's all about money instead of morality, made clear by the tenor of the pro-Engelstad letters printed in the Herald.

To me, the nature of the argument is that $100 million is far more important than the rights of the minority. The minority should be honored that a man like Ralph Engelstad would build a $100 million facility and then be so kind as to fill the arena with supporters enthusiastically cheering their name! But it's not about that, folks. Those people aren't cheering for the actual Sioux---they're cheering for the usurpers of the rightful owners of the name, the people who have stolen an identity, caricaturized it, and made it into a brand name. (Order your "Sioux-per Special" or sign your kids up for the "Sioux Kids Club" I do wonder if one has to prove lineage to be a member of that club.)

There is a word for this: exploitation, "to make unethical use of for one's own profit." To use something, it must be objectified, treated as though it was a thing and not a person. Philosopher Immanuel Kant recognized the associated immorality and, I suggest, a reading of the Bible will find Kant in good company. Native Americans have every right to feel offended and marginalized as they are being treated like a poker chip, another token used to gamble your way to a profit. Looks like the house has the odds and the deck stacked in their favor.

Engelstad's supporters should realize their own naivete. Yes, losing Engelstad's donation will do great fiscal harm the university. But what harm will come from national attention to UND, coverage which will undoubtably be unfavorable of Engelstad, President Kupchella, and the Board? Is that negative portrayal of the university and the Greater Grand Forks community really worth kowtowing to Engelstad? That's the $100 Million Question.

Sincerely,
Nathan W. Teske, UND Student