Column: A perspective on 'Fighting Sioux' vote
"As fair-minded people on both sides of UND’s logo controversy discuss the surprising result of the recent Spirit Lake Nation citizen referendum, we would do well to keep in mind its larger context.

The primary question of what weight we should accord the referendum as an exercise in “democracy” should address at least three issues.

The first is the appropriateness of applying western democracy models to indigenous cultures. Many American Indian scholars view federal policies forcing tribes to abandon traditional governance forms and mimic state governments instead as continuing forms of colonialism.

And, in comparison to the inclusive, consensus-based decision-making processes traditionally found in many indigenous cultures, democracy’s majority vote paradigm seems an impatient, divisive approach.

The 764-371 result at Spirit Lake, viewed from a more culturally relevant perspective, was a vote that failed to achieve consensus by more than 30 percent."

Get the Story:
Jim Grijalva: Keep Spirit Lake referendum in perspective (The Grand Forks Herald 4/24)

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