Matthew Reader on respect

Dear Sir:

I am writing to address the issue of the University of North Dakota's nickname and mascot. After reading the summary on the aforementioned topic posted on The University of North Dakota's web page I found myself in a state of disbelief. There in the text are numerous reasons to abolish the nickname and mascot but there has only been hesitation to do so on the part of the university. I have long studied the Native American mascot issue and I find it preposterous that the proper course of action has not been taken to remedy this ongoing problem. Although one side will be unpleased with the course of action you choose to take, there is a right and proper thing to do. This country has long strived to been known as a land of equality but has failed miserably when it comes to the Native Americans. UND's nickname is a clear example of the blatant disregard for the people who first inhabited this great land. Proponents of the university keeping its nickname use the argument that it is a way to honor the Native Americans who contributed so much to the United States. That would be fine if it were the case, but instead there have been numerous examples of disrespect toward Native Americans and their cultural heritage as a result of this so-called honor. When the people whom you wish to honor are offended then it is no longer an honor but an insult, and the longer you let this continue the worse the insult. How much longer will you allow this mockery of the Native American culture to continue? In this day of political correctness I find it to be ironic that Native American people can still be thought of as a mascot and have their culture mocked. Must this injustice continue? How much longer must the Native American people wait to get the respect that peoples from all over the world came to this country in search of? I hope that one day the Native American people and culture will no longer be seen as a mascot to generate revenue from but a group of people that deserve the respect and dignity that are the foundation of this society. I write this letter to you knowing that you have the power to effect the outcome of this great debate and I ask that you do the right thing and help to put an end to the mockery of the Native Americans on the UND campus and surrounding communities by abolishing the nickname and mascot "Fighting Sioux." As long as we sit passively and allow this injustice to continue this country will never be the land of equality that it strives to become. So I ask you to take a stand against this nickname and in doing so you will also be making a stand for equality.

Respectfully Yours,
Matthew Reader
8420 59th Ave SW
Lakewood, WA 98499

Mike James: Editor, Grand Forks Herald
Senator Kent Conrad: United States Senator, North Dakota
Senator Byron Dorgan: United States Senator, North Dakota
Representative Earl Pomeroy: United States House Representative, North Dakota
Julian Bond: Chairman of the Board, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People