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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Injustice imposed by the NCAA

  • Dear Editor,

    When the NCAA mandated the retirement of the Sioux logo and nickname, at that time they didn't have enough information to know that the majority of the Spirit Lake tribe supports its continued use.  


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  • Dear Editor,
    When the NCAA mandated the retirement of the Sioux logo and nickname, at that time they didn't have enough information to know that the majority of the Spirit Lake tribe supports its continued use.  They know now and haven’t elected to reconsider that decision.   How unfair and misguided can they be?  They are ignoring the desires of the majority at Spirit Lake and based on the informal referendum at Standing Rock which strongly suggested that if the Standing Rock people were allowed to freely vote on this issue, they too would support the continued use of the name.   How can the NCAA think they have made the right decision when they are getting sued by Spirit Lake and also may have an injunction filed against them by the Spirit Lake tribe?  Isn’t the NCAA supposed to support fairness and integrity in intercollegiate sports?  It seems the NCAA is choosing to dishonor the very principles it supposedly represents and safeguards.
    Why don't they even bother to consider the fact that their mandate to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo is in opposition to the majority of Native Americans in North Dakota?  They don't even seem to care what the tribal people themselves clearly want.  This is somewhat reminiscent of the 1800’s when countless edicts and treaty proposals from white people farther East told the Indians what was best for them.  As we all know, one treaty after another was broken to the detriment of the tribes.   The NCAA is simply not treating the tribal members with the respect they richly deserve.
    Is the NCAA so blind that they think they know what is best for the tribal members themselves?  If so, they are the ones being truly “offensive and abusive”.   This is a real injustice being forced upon the Spirit Lake tribe and most likely a majority at Standing Rock as well.  I guess, for some unknown reason, they think the opinions of most tribal members and most people out here in the state of North Dakota don’t count.   Although perhaps well intended, their mandate to retire the logo has now been shown to be clearly misguided and ill-advised.   It will be a travesty and an insult to most tribal members if the NCAA allows their pride to get in the way of doing the right thing and reconsidering their position on this issue.  Given the new facts that have emerged, it would be highly unjust to not take a second look and reconsider.  If the NCAA has real integrity and is committed to doing the right thing, they will happily reconsider the issue.
    Thanks to those of you at Spirit Lake for your outstanding efforts to correct this injustice against your people.  Don’t let the NCAA push you around and force its decisions on you.  I hope you continue to stand up and fight this, as your noble ancestors would have done.  It was the skill, spirit and relentless determination of your ancestors that we all so admire that inspired the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname in the first place.
    Page 2 of 2 - Mark L. Fering
    A former resident of Devils Lake
    Cary, N.C.
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