“The buffalo was sacred to my people,” he wrote. “It was our food, our shelter, our religion and it was life itself. How dare a white man’s university take our deity and make it a sports team mascot?
“NDSU should change its mascot name out of respect to an animal the Great Spirit gave to my people. He is not a sports mascot; he is not a marketing gimmick to make wealthy people richer. The buffalo is above today’s corrupt commercial world. He is not an asset to be exploited; he is an icon to be cherished and respected.”
Leigh Jeanotte, director of American Indian Student Services at UND and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, agreed that the buffalo, or American bison, “is important to all Plains Indian tribes,” including the Sioux, or Lakota. But the use of a people as a sports mascot is worse, he said.
“It’s just my opinion, but I think that’s much more insensitive,” he said.