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Opinion
Opinion: UND fans made mockery of Natives


"I was a young woman when I went to UND in 1997. I tried my best to fit in to the whole college scene, living in the dorm, going to dances, and attending a football game for the first time.

At the game, I witnessed several of my white peers painted exorbitantly, with fake feathers adorning their bodies. Our fans were chanting and doing the tomahawk chop, while our opponent�s fans were chanting slogans like, �Pillage the village, rape the women!�

It is inevitable that, with a team name like the �Fighting Sioux,� opponents and spectators will say or do something that may hurt an actual Dakota/Lakota person who is watching�and in the passion of the moment, it can be difficult to differentiate between literal language and fun in the name of sports. But these displays made a mockery of our traditions. In our culture, eagle feathers are sacred, and they are earned when an individual accomplishes a great and honorable deed. As with eagle feathers, our paint is worn by veterans and also in tribal ceremonies. When I saw what was happening at the game, I was filled with so much anger and hurt that I couldn�t hide it from my two nephews who were with me. Our own fans were disrespectful, and no race of human beings should have to put up with chants like those of our opponents.

I never again attended an athletic event at UND in my entire five years there. I would have loved to cheer on my school and attend the many celebrations the school offered. Throughout those five years at UND, I was glad I did not attend another game because the vulgar, despicable t-shirts, signs, and cheers made by both our team and our opponents would have undoubtedly infuriated me more."

Get the Story:
Waste�Win Yellow Lodge Young: A Name to Fight Against (The Harvard Crimson 10/17)

NCAA Decision:
Statement by NCAA Senior Vice-President for Governance and Membership Bernard Franklin on University of North Dakota Review(September 28, 2005)

NCAA Policy:
NCAA Executive Committee Issues Guidelines for Use of Native American Mascots at Championship Events (August 5, 2005)

Relevant Links:
University of North Dakota - http://www.und.edu
The Ralph - http://www.theralph.com
Fighting Sioux - http://www.fightingsioux.com
NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee - http://www1.ncaa.org/eprise/main/
membership/governance/assoc-wide/moic/index.html

National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media - http://www.aimovement.org/ncrsm

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