January 24, 2008

Some Sioux honored to be mascots

Some thoughts on whether UND has a mascot or not.

Tribal members:  Why we're honored by nicknameDuring the 1930s, UND officially adopted the name “Fighting Sioux” for its athletic teams. On July 21, 1969, tribal officials, dignitaries, elders, friends and relatives from the Fort Yates Reservation traveled to UND and, in a ceremony with the president of UND, blessed the UND athletic teams and formally gave UND the right to use the name of “Fighting Sioux” for their athletic teams.

Also, we believe it is important for tribal members to know that the present day logo was created by Ben Brien, a Chippewa Indian artist and graduate of UND.

Understandably, there are those who take a different view, one of which is the criticism of a “mascot.” Allow us to make this first point loud and clear: UND athletic teams do not have a mascot, never did have a mascot and never will have a mascot!
Comment:  Even if a school like UND doesn't have someone dressed up as a dancing Indian, it arguably has a mascot. The mascot is the abstract entity known as the "Fighting Sioux." It's represented by the "Fighting Sioux" name and logo.

In other words, the name, logo, and mascot concepts are interchangeable. A personified mascot is usually worse than a mascot on a logo, which is usually worse than a mascot embodied in a name only. But they all have the same conceptual problem: representing a three-dimensional people as a one-dimensional symbol.

One also could argue that the Sioux people themselves are UND's mascots. The name and logo refer to them. They're the living symbols of the school's fighting spirit.

That is, the school's desire to crush, kill, and destroy its opponents. In a sporting way, of course. Because the "Fighting Sioux" are all about defeating enemies and nothing else.

Below:  The Fighting Sioux mascot on the UND logo.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
One wonders just how many Blacks would be honored by LI'L BLACK SAMBO in today's social milieu? Sambo's Restaurants became Denny's owing to a sea change in social and political principles. Same-old, same-old...
All Best
Russ Bates

parker said...

I love the Sioux people and Nation.

It is sad that your people are once again being exploited.

The enemies (using the Sioux language) have already taken your lands and your hunting and fishing areas.

They raped your daughters and women and killed your children.

They poisoned your water and your sacred lands.

They destroyed your homes and source of food.

They point their fingers at you and laugh with ridicules and shame you in front of your children.

They designed the schools system so that you and your children will fail. They are still moving ahead with their extermination plans.

Next year they will take another piece of your land or your fishing and hunting rights.

Exploitation and termination plans were enforced by the federal government, then the state governments, then the county governments, then businesses and companies.

Now universities and colleges are exploiting the Sioux nations!!

When will the Sioux Nations unite and stand together and stop all this exploitation.

The future of the Sioux nations is before you.

If universities and colleges continue to exploit the Sioux nations with mascot, your children will continue to be exploited, ridiculed and laugh at in universities and colleges.

It will cause them to leave schools. Your children and grand children will not receive their degrees because of these exploitation and discrimination.

The Sioux Nations must stop these exploitations and discriminations that are embedded and rooted into the school system by using “Sioux” mascot.

You must not let the enemies take advantage of your life, your culture, your identities and pride.

I know that all the Sioux Chiefs before you would have stood against exploitations and discrimination of their people by universities and colleges.

Now is the time, not next year or not in two years, but today all Sioux nations must stand-up and unite and vote against this exploitation by universities and colleges.

Do it for your people, children, grand children and your future.

Rob said...

The Sioux nations aren't my nations since I'm not an Indian, Parker. But I appreciate your sentiments. Thanks for writing.

Anonymous said...

UND Student-
For Your information- the meeting in 1969 took part in honor of both the sioux and UND. The Sioux let UND use the name because they were proud of UND, what they have offered them and what they havedone for the tribe. The president of UND at the time was named and honored as a sioux member. For the sioux tribe to vote how they did is a disgrace upon their past generations!

Rob said...

Who are you calling a UND student, Anonymous? I don't think there are any students here.

What happened in 1969 is ancient history, of course. For the latest news, see Fighting the Fighting Sioux.