Wednesday, May 27, 2009

DU Isn't The Only Institution Ignoring Democracy

From: Grand Forks Herald
by Steve Fool Bear

FORT YATES, N.D. — It’s disturbing to watch what is happening on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and in North Dakota.

In both places, leaders are ignoring those whom they’re entrusted with representing.

Standing Rock is a failed democracy. Likewise, some state government entities are backing (and imposing the views of) a radical few over the common sense of the progressive many. All in the name of political correctness, or maybe it’s fear of being called racist — who knows?

Standing Rock voted overwhelmingly to keep using our nation’s “Sioux” name a year ago. That issue was part of the anti-nickname activists’ continuing effort to deny tribal members a chance to vote in a UND nickname referendum.

The tribal council imposed a moratorium on such a referendum for one reason: to silence and deny the inevitable truth.

Standing Rock will vote in favor of UND and its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, the same as Spirit Lake did. Otherwise, why would nickname opponents make such unethical political efforts to deny tribal members a chance to vote?

It completely contradicts democracy.

Instead, the nickname opponents spread racist propaganda throughout the reservation, using UND as reference in their efforts to change our nation’s proud Sioux name to Oyate. But they failed miserably, much like the anti-logo movement at Spirit Lake did.

Spirit Lake members forced the UND issue to a ballot — and the results were not surprising in Sioux country. We’ve known this all along: The “Silent Majority” is 2-1 ratio in favor of the UND nickname, the same ratio that emerged in the Oyate-vs.-Sioux vote.

The collective Sioux voice has been heard consistently but still is ignored: Is this not enough evidence?

But even so, North Dakota along with the rest of country continues to submit to this vocal few.

The facts are these: We are proud to be Sioux, and we are proud of the UND Fighting Sioux.

Democracy has proven this time and time again. However, this issue has proven that democratic leaders are not obligated to represent the majority.

The North Dakota Board of Higher Education has its reasons for their deciding as it did, but one would assume that North Dakota traditions, democratic evidence, progress and common sense would hold much more weight than would baseless rumors and the availability of an athletic conference.

The board is failing North Dakota’s heritage, much like the leadership at Standing Rock has failed us.

At the moment, the politicians are winning, but there is still time. Where are our leaders?

Long live the Sioux, and long live the UND Fighting Sioux.

3 comments:

vizoroo said...

Kudos to the author.

Donald Dunlop said...

It's good that our youth get to attend institutions of higher learning and can learn the lesson that life isn't fair.

Too bad, so sad for UND. They arrogantly co-opted aboriginal culture and did so in such a dramatically distasteful manner that democracy or not ... "RIGHT" will rule the day.

Justice is a higher principle than Democracy.

Anonymous said...

UND is not "Ignoring Democracy." As you say in the title. The tribes which get to decide whether the University gets to keep the name are the ones ignoring democracy. Maybe that is what you meant in your title when you used "institution." Although I assumed you meant the school UND as you compared the "institution" to DU, another school. If I inferred wrong I apologize.

Also (I say this as a Sioux nickname supporter) "democracy" does not exist on Native American reservations. Tribal government rules; the few in power (Tribal Council) make decisions for the many (civilians). They cannot call for votes or sign petitions to overturn things or have elections like we can in our democracy.