October 03, 2007

"Fighting Sioux" violates UN declaration

IN THE MAIL:  Nickname violates human rightsArticle 31 of the declaration states that indigenous peoples have the right to control and protect their cultural traditions and expressions, including in sports. As an alum of the UND School of Law, I am still deeply offended by the continued exploitation of my people, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate, commonly referred to as the “Sioux” by non-Natives. Not only is this offense a continuing educational barrier that should be removed to serve the educational needs of Native peoples in the area, but now it is a violation of the basic human rights principles of indigenous peoples recognized around the world.

May 2008 will mark the 10th year since my graduation from UND, and in 2008 we will see the 60th anniversary for the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. With the addition of the Sept. 13 passage of the U.N. Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, isn't it about time the major public university in the state of North Dakota stop violating Native human rights with the use of the offensive “Sioux” mascot and start joining in the worldwide movement to accord Native peoples with the basic dignities of life that all other populations are entitled to?

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