Open letter from Jim Grijalva to Earl Strinden (CEO of Alumni Association)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 10:35:05 -0600
From: James Grijalva
Reply-To: UND Faculty Discussion List
To: FACTALK@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU
Subject: Re: nickname/logo

Dear Earl Strinden -- I felt that it was important to let you know that your show this morning on talk radio missed the critical point of the nickname controversy. The issue is one of ethics and morality. You continue to use a name you have no right to use. Your comments that unnamed tribal "leaders" support you is disingenuous at best. What is your response to the 12 or so "Sioux" tribes that have asked the U to drop the name because of its lack of respect?

Your position that it is acceptable to continue to use the nickname and logo because and "overwhelming majority" of alums want to ignores this issue. Logically, you must also feel that before the American Civil War, when a majority of US citizens felt it was acceptable to enslave others for our country's economic gain, that slavery was thus morally acceptable. No doubt you also believe that before white men saw fit to allow women to vote in this country, that it was also morally acceptable to disenfranchise women from participating in our country's affairs. If you do not agree with these assumptions, I would be very interested in hearing a logical non-economic argument why our nickname presents a different issue.

I was also interested in your comment that if the nickname is changed, "what have we done for native American citizens?" To start, you have shown some degree of respect. But beyond that, I am curious to know what you personally have done for our native citizens. You use the prevalence of native programs on campus as a defense, but you and I know that most if not all of those programs rely on funding outside the University for their existence. What have you and the Foundation done to ensure their continued existence? Raising funds for athletics is all well and good, but only after you ensure that our academic mission is satisfied. And in the end, the divisiveness that you have caused (the students did not start this) endangers that mission. Hockey is irrelevant to the future of these young people, but your actions and words seem to send the message that the opposite is true.

I am interested in your thoughtful reply, and would be happy to assist you in any way possible to come to a better understanding of what is at stake here.

jim grijalva
school of law