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The Situation On the Ground

Reader Jason Stadel, a Dakotan, a Native American, and a member of the United States Army, kindly shares his e-mail of this morning to Dartmouth Athletic Director Josie Harper.

Ms. Harper,

I was wondering why you took it upon your self to comment publicly on something that has nothing to do with you or your fine institution. How would you know that the name Fighting Sioux is offensive? Have you been to any Sioux reservations in North or South Dakota? I’m an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, university educated and I serve in the U.S. Army; as a “real” Fighting Sioux I’m offended that you would have the guts to tell me that something I’m proud of is offensive. The nickname is not offensive. What is offensive is the people that try to make a mountain out of a mole hill when it has nothing to do with them.

Take a trip to a Sioux reservation someday. Then you’ll see the things that are actually problems that Native Americans deal with: poverty, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, extremely high unemployment and large high school drop out rates. I’m not talking about hand outs, I believe that help comes from within first, but if people want to try and help the Indian World, they should start there and try not to get headlines talking about a nickname that most Native Americans support. Thank you for your time and attention and have a good day.

Respectfully,
Jason Stadel

The Grand Forks Herald this morning reported:
Defenders and opponents of the UND logo are also taking their feelings directly to Harper. She said she’s received about 50 emails since the letter to the editor first appeared. She said those included letters of support from people on campus but also many letters harshly attacking her.

“I have trouble deciphering it,” she said, “when they’re so sure no one is being insulted (by the nickname) and I shouldn’t be worried, but they’re doing a really good job of insulting me.”

If Jason’s letter is representative of those in Ms. Harper’s inbox, I would hardly characterize them as insulting. In fact, I might characterize them as polite, well-informed, and deserving of a response.

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