Sunday, March 16, 2008

Native American UND student

My name is Winona, I am 20 and a sophomore at University of North Dakota. I am Lakota Sioux and my name in Sioux means first daughter. I chose to go to UND because it is in the homeland of my ancestors and to join forces with other Native Americans to change the UND mascot.

I am an active participant in the campus group B.R.I.D.G.E.S., which stands for Building Roads Into Diverse Groups Empowering Students (www.und.nodak.edu/org/bridges ). B.R.I.D.G.E.S. has a statement on their website : Whereas many students see the name being used in a respectful manner, BRIDGES understands that using any ethnic group as a moniker for a sports team is not respectful-- it is exploitive and leads to dangerous stereotypes and, subsequently, racism. This statement was the reason why I joined B.R.I.D.G.E.S., they believe the same thing that I do. This stereotype of my ancestors being violent warriors is so very old and I believe that UND needs to live up to its reputation as being a leader and change the mascot.

Below is a picture of Native American students protesting at the University of South Dakota. I am proud of my people for raising their voice to stop this wrongful and archaic portrayal of the Sioux people at Univeristy of North Dakota.


16 comments:

Jake S said...

Winona, I understand your disliking of the name, but why is it so offensive to you? I have heard other Indians talk on this subject, and they really do take pride in having their tribe represented by great hockey team. I don't see why this is so offensive to you, and hope you are also able to see the folks side that do like the name. Have a good day Winona.

Gloria Hayden

LDea said...

Winona, we pretty much come from the same background and I understand where you are coming from. But I believe if people want to use the mascot they should be able to. By simply having it on a jersey or on a building i don't think its hurting anything. My father strongly doesn't think the mascot should be used but I just don't understand why you two both have such a strong feeling towards using the mascot.

Marie Little Solider

HLFlug said...

Dear Winona,
I thought that BRIDGES was a very neat organization. I love what it stands for and I also agree that there is a worthy "tradition" and heritage in the name the "fighting sioux." I do believe however that the students at UND represent the Indian tribes very well. They are fantastic at sports and always show off their mascot in a positive, proud manner. Although there are terrible people outside of the University who make fun of the mascot name, it happens at every school and I think that the UND students have done a wonderful job of proving the power and success of the Indian tribes. Thanks for listening!
- Editor, The Dakota Student

LaurenVann said...

Winona-
I understand that you are proud of your heritage but don't you think you've gone a little to far? What are your suggestions for the new mascot name..."wimpy Sioux," "sad Sioux?" I don't really understand why you think this mascot sheds a bad light on your people. "Fighting Sioux" is a great mascot because it sounds important and tough, just as a school mascot should.
-Cathy Kristin

LaurenVann said...

Winona-
I understand that you are proud of your heritage but don't you think you've gone a little to far? What are your suggestions for the new mascot name..."wimpy Sioux," "sad Sioux?" I don't really understand why you think this mascot sheds a bad light on your people. "Fighting Sioux" is a great mascot because it sounds important and tough, just as a school mascot should.
-Cathy Kristin

Ryan Vaudreuil said...

First off, what an awful acronym. What does that even mean. It is a good thing that you won't be changing the school name or it might turn out to be the UNDTNFSPWDF (University of North Dakota Tribe of Nice Friendly Souix People Who Don't Fight). Secondly, Fighting Sioux is not even racist. You're tribe is called the Sioux and you faught many battles. It is fact.

-Deputy Len McAuley

Laura B said...

Hello, UND student. I agree with you in that UND once again should be a leader and should change the mascot name. I think you make a great point. I am glad to see that I am not alone on this issue. Thanks for your time. -Jon Ekohak

Chelseaw said...

I see that you are proud of your background and I can see why you would want to go to UND. What I don't understand is what does changing the mascot have to do with you? The "Fighting Sioux" shows pride and represents the Sioux in a positive way. UND makes the Sioux look even better. The sports and organizations around campus take pride in the mascot. I have never heard anything about the mascot that would make it seems negative or offensive.
-Tim Smith

Jeff T said...

Winona,
I understand where you are coming from but feel that it is important that the name stay put because you have to have respect for the Native American culture and i feel changing the name would give a sense of disrespect for the Native Americans.

Josh R said...

Winona, your people are my people. I agree you should let your voice be heard in a peaceful manner. I wonder though why we can not be represented by a successful sports team. Being the mascot has its flaws yes, but it also has its positives. How bout keeping our name in the public eye. When ever UND succeeds its the "Sioux" name that everyone sees. tome this is an honor and privilege. I for one am proud of my ancestors that fought like warriors. That was tradition back then and in no way do I find "fighting Sioux" disrespectful to our ancestors. It shows they fought for they believed in... Something to be proud of. I leave you in peace.
-Little Wing

Michelle said...

Yeah well I am never on the campus so how could I create a bad atmosphere? And your people did fight so why is it wrong to call them the fighting Sioux. If they didn't want people calling them that then they shouldn't have fought!

Julian Hayden

mollym said...

Winona,
I completely agree with your standpoint. good for you for joining B.R.I.D.G.E.S. and standing up for your people...our people. I too am I Native American and I was once a hopeful in attending UND. Congrats for getting in, I was unfortunately denied. I am curious, how many people are involved in B.R.I.D.G.E.S? Also, how many Native Americans do you know of that go to your university? I have found the admissions staff to be quite racist...
-Ronnie Tall Bear

Tommy said...

In regards to the "paleskins" comment. I would be honored to be called a paleskin, proud to me pale! PALE POWER!

E.Holmquist said...

Winona-
I am also a student at UND. I am the other side of the spectrum from you, but i hope some of what I say can help you feel better. I am a dedicated sports fan and I have been proudly sporting the "Fighting Sioux" logo on my chest for all sporting events. I can understand that it can be seen negatively, but I believe that as students we want to represent the mascot in a positive light. Around campus I don't notice any disrespect to the name and I hope you don't see that either. There is strong tradition in the name and I know that I would like to see the name stay. We are all doing our best to represent the Sioux people as best we can. I would hope to meet you sometime on campus and discuss this.
-UND hockey fan

Gorman said...

Winona,
It's nice that your involved in your school and trying to make a difference. You should spend more time promoting what the Sioux are really about on campus instead of just trying to change the name. If you find it disrespectful then make them understand the culuture, maybe that will help! Good luck!

Doris Strickland

JHeinitz said...

Winonananana,
Hey girlfriend, i understand how you would get mad but you say that you want people to forget that your people were mighty warriors. Why would you want people to forget that all together? As long as people don't think of you only as that it will work well. I know my team wears it as pride and it helps us to play like warriors.
Kris Porther