Frank Burggraf: Fight For The Fighting Sioux Isn't Over

I find it very telling that a descendant of a sworn enemy of the Sioux created a symbol that captured the hearts of all men and epitomizes the human spirit of belonging to something special while at same time challenging and defying the very essence of the word racist as presented by those who oppose it. A name given to UND by the elders of the Sioux 80 years ago becomes one of the most recognized brands in collegiate athletics and on the onset of a new regime at UND, the multi million dollar revenue generator has been stripped from UND and they are befuddled as to why UND has plummeting revenues. That my friend, is clueless.

A symbol that bonded the hearts of men and brought people of all races together, from all corners of the world and all religions heralding one powerful symbol and name.  Sioux.  A symbol that instilled a lifelong bond of loyalty by alumni to UND representing a special time for all who walked the sacred ground of UND as Fighting Sioux. That, my friend, is priceless.

So which was it?   Hostile, abusive, harmful to UND, insensitive, oppressive, racist, confusing to the student athlete?  It took 80 years for Sioux name to spoil on whose watch?  Even after each accusation went unfounded, those who seek to expunge the Sioux name threw claim after claim at the wall hoping one would stick and the public would tire of the issue and roll over.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]The day is coming when the fears of the Sioux people will be realized and the Sioux name will be considered hostile and abusive, unfit, unclean and toxic and you will not be allowed to wear it, speak it or cheer for it on the grounds of UND because it may confuse the student athlete.[/mks_pullquote]

Who really are the racist and insensitive ones?  Those of us who embrace the native name and image uplifting the Sioux name in honor, respect and with pride or those who seek to remove the name because it is coined toxic, dirty, oppressive, unclean and unfit to be embraced by a state university? I am open to any anti logo person to explain to me the difference between a Fighting Irish and a Fighting Sioux or a Seminole and a Sioux on the NCAA athletic field?

Even after numerous approvals by both Sioux Nations, they find themselves on the outside looking in.  The Sioux, by majority, want their name at UND.  But we have visitors among us who do not want it at UND and have shut them out.

Where is Twamley Halls conscience to seek compromise?  One could question why would a people that suffered so much under the hands of Manifest Destiny ever think of allowing a university to carry its name as its moniker anywhere?  Especially after the brutal acts carried out against their people in the 1800s?  Yet, the elders still gave the gift to the athletes at UND to be known as the Fighting Sioux. That is my friend is powerful, hardly racist or oppressive.

We are about to witness generations of UND and all its traditions buried alive.  All we get is “Its time to move on”, no critical debate on the campus of UND, without any representation or a voice from the Sioux People, all happening on a campus that was based upon promoting and seeking compromise and common ground. Where tolerance, acceptance, civility, honesty, integrity and above all truth, are all virtuous aspirations of our state institutions.

There are too many unanswered questions, too many peoples’ voices that have not been heard, and documents that are sealed in an agreement that impact all of us to simply “move on”. That my friend, would be foolish.

It is now blatantly obvious. This issue was never about protecting anyone from racism. How could it be when some can use native names and others can’t.  Nor was it about the “No Name” option ever really part of the agenda, regardless of the will of the majority of alumni.

The day is coming when the fears of the Sioux people will be realized and the Sioux name will be considered hostile and abusive, unfit, unclean and toxic and you will not be allowed to wear it, speak it or cheer for it on the grounds of UND because it may confuse the student athlete.

Maybe we should look at retiring the things that are not native to North Dakota and save the things that are native to North Dakota.

As a nation, we are rapidly becoming divisible and no longer one nation under God. Liberty and justice for all are at risk because good men continue to do nothing.

Seek the truth in the book Aren’t We Sioux Enough?.

It should be required reading before any one of us moves on.

I will quit when the Sioux by majority tell me to quit.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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