Letter from James E. Shanley, Fort Peck Community College President

February 2, 2000
UND Alumni Association
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND 58202

Dear Sirs:

I am writing this letter to express my support for changing the name UND Fighting Sioux. I am an Assiniboine Sioux from Fort Peck in Montana and I graduated from the University of North Dakota with Ed.D in 1980. During the time I attended the University there was a continual conflict over the nickname for the athletic team. The Indian students on campus, at that time, felt that the name was demeaning and continued a stereotype of the indigenous people in North Dakota. Personally, I felt that there were many issues such as access and student retention that were more important than a school nickname. However, as years passed and the times changed, I felt that there would be a movement towards accepting the sensitivity people have about being used as symbols and mascots. That has not occurred despite a general shift in the national consciousness regarding racial identification. I think that it is time for the University to adopt a universally accepted mascot and name that does not offend any particular group of people. UND is a great school and I am proud to be a graduate. I hope that a name change will also make me proud of the University. Thank you.

Sincerely,

James E. Shanley, President
Fort Peck Community College