October 02, 2008

Feeling bad about "Fighting Sioux"

Opinion:  Protest against 'Fighting Sioux' eventI do not enjoy walking around campus every day, entirely unable to avoid the negative imagery of the Fighting Sioux logo. It seems that nearly everyone chooses to utilize this logo as a part of their clothing, car decorations, and countless other forms of display. I feel perpetually threatened, angry, and saddened, because this logo is being used as an improper and inaccurate representation of Native culture--and it’s everywhere.

I wish that everyone could understand the way it makes me feel to see this logo. If only they could understand the damage that Native people undergo with the perpetuation of this stereotypical imagery. I know that if they if these people really understood, and if they truly cared to honor and respect Native people, they would no longer be so determined to keep the logo around. Unfortunately, there are people who work diligently to make sure that the logo stays; attempting to silence the voices of people like myself, who have good reason to oppose the logo and its false imagery of Native people.
The latest reason to feel bad about being a mascot:We recently learned about the Ralph Engelstad Arena’s latest plan to publicly disrespect and exploit Native people under a fa├žade of cultural consideration: the “Unveiling of the Tribal Flags Ceremony.”

The REA will be holding this “ceremony” prior to a UND exhibition hockey game on October 5th. The ceremony consists of flag presentations, a history reading, and honor songs: all of which will be performed by members of both the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Nations.

An advertisement for this event had been circulated through campus, and eventually reached the hands of members of the Indian community, including BRIDGES. We found it rather strange, to say the least, that such an extravagant event involving Native people will be taking place on campus, yet not one of the 29 American Indian programs or 400-some Indian students on campus was formally notified of, much less invited to attend, this event. This speaks volumes about the true motives behind the decision of the REA to organize this event.
Below:  "I'm just a primitive Indian. Please step on my face."

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