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Monday, June 26, 2006
The Fighting Sioux fight back?
The University of North Dakota is fighting back against the NCAA decree that they change their nickname ("the Fighting Sioux"). You have to take a look at this letter that UND President Charles E. Kupchella sent to the NCAA. It is very rare for anyone in authority -- nonetheless an academic administrator -- to speak out strongly against political correctness. Here's a small taste (bold in original):
To begin with, you asserted that any use of American Indian images or nicknames was hostile and abusive. Later you changed this to hostile or abusive – as if this were meaningful in some way. Some of your initial rhetoric actually encompassed nicknames derived from any race or ethnic group. Many of us heard Myles Brand in a radio interview say that “Fighting Irish” was not a problem nickname because (his words) it was really about leprechauns and not real people. Really?
[Editors Note: I think the NCAA just called Sip a Leprechaun!]
How far does the NCAA think its jurisdiction goes? Does it extend into history? Do you really expect us to airbrush all of the references to Sioux off the jerseys of our many national championship teams – on the many photographs and championship banners lining the walls of our sports venues?
It may be that we have indeed forfeited our rights to fairness and evenhandedness by becoming “volunteer” members of the NCAA, but we may need to find out for sure in the courts since there really is no other membership option for UND.Like many of you, I don't make many decisions about sports nicknames until I consult trained professionals. Here's what the American Psychological Association has to say:
WHEREAS the continued use of American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities establishes an unwelcome and often times hostile learning environment for American Indian students that affirms negative images/stereotypes that are promoted in mainstream society (Clark & Witko, in press; Fryberg, 2003; Fryberg & Markus, 2003; Fryberg, 2004a; Munson, 2001; Society of Indian Psychologists, 1999; Staurowsky, 1999);
WHEREAS the continued use of American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities by school systems appears to have a negative impact on the self-esteem of American Indian children (Chamberlin, 1999; Eagle and Condor Indigenous People’s Alliance, 2003; Fryberg, 2004b; Fryberg & Markus, 2003; Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, 2001; Society of Indian Psychologists, 1999; The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, 2001; Vanderford, 1996);I had completely forgotten about the Eagle and Condor Indigenous People's Alliance and their courageous stand against Indian mascots!
Hat tip: Phi Beta Cons.
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