Opinion: Internal racism and 'Fighting Sioux'
"I draw upon my identities as a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota and North Dakota, as a former instructor at the Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, N.D., and a former resident of the Spirit Lake Nation’s reservation as well as my own, as a graduate of the UND School of Law, as a former general counsel for my tribe and as a current law professor teaching in the area of Native American Law.

Any negotiated agreement with UND that allows this public institution to propagate negative stereotypes of our people and culture is unacceptable and inconceivable. This is called “internal racism,” where the people who have suffered racial discrimination begin to think that they are unworthy and therefore should agree with the racism directed against them.

The mascot improperly used by UND is a mischaracterization of our male ancestors who defended the women and children, our philosophies, our stewardship of this land and our belief in our sacred place in creation. This mischaracterization dehumanizes these ancestors by putting them on par with animals used in sports competitions to rally crowds.

This mischaracterization continues the negative stereotypes of Hollywood “westerns,” where our men are portrayed as simple-minded bloodthirsty “primitives.” This is not who my ancestors were.

How dare a university take on such an image and maintain it against the wishes of all the tribes in the region and then purport to serve as a public educational institution that serves the area?"

Get the Story:
Angelique EagleWoman: 'Internal racism' mars settling with UND (The Grand Forks Herald 10/16)

More Opinions:
Amy Phillips: Nickname recalls a disrespectful era (The Grand Forks Herald 10/16)
L. Buddy Gwin: Reject call to accept Sioux nickname (The Grand Forks Herald 10/16)

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