August 19, 2015

"Sioux Were Silenced" weren't silenced

Forum editorial: UND, don't pander to protesters' transparent ploy to retain 'Fighting Sioux'First, they want the university’s list of selections for a new UND team name to include “North Dakota.” It’s a transparent ploy to somehow retain some iteration of “Fighting Sioux,” which has been retired.

Second, they want the immediate resignation of UND President Robert Kelley because by their assessment he has presided over a name-change process that has not been responsive to their concerns. What a crock. If ever there was a process that has been painfully long and over-the-top inclusive, it’s been the university’s name-change saga.

But none of that matters to a small, but noisy cabal of unreconstructed “Fighting Sioux” fans. No matter what the eventual choice is, no matter what sort of consensus is achieved, no matter how many voices have been part of the process, they will not accept the inevitable. It makes no sense for Kelley and the university to continue to pander to them. They had their shot, they lost. Whatever they do now is sideshow.

The arrogant contention that “the Sioux have been silenced” is so obviously false as to be cartoonish. First, the “silence” made loud headlines for years, and still is. Second, the history of the moniker debate is replete with pro-Fighting Sioux arguments, some cogent, others offensive. That the case was weak and ultimately failed is the reality that some arguers refuse to accept.
The big lie:Supporters of the name and logo got the question on the June 11, 2012, ballot, and North Dakotans voted overwhelmingly (67.34 percent)–in every county, including counties that encompass reservations and other tribal lands–to retire the nickname and logo. Days later, the higher ed board voted to prohibit use of the name and logo, and said UND could not adopt new monikers until 2015. UND has been working for months, and is close to selecting one of five options.

Thus, the charge that all voices were not heard and that some voices were “silenced” is a lie. The matter has been aired as thoroughly as any in the state’s recent history. “Fighting Sioux” fans can make all the noise they want at Saturday’s rally, but they bring nothing new to the debate, nothing credible to the discussion.
Comment:  For more on the Fighting Sioux, see NCAA Threatens Sanctions for "Sioux" and "Sioux" Supporters = 5-Year-Olds.

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