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More on that Dartmouth/UND Game…

A handful of further details have trickled in about the deathmatch between the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and Dartmouth. The “lone protester” referenced in my original post? That was Dartmouth English professor Shelby Grantham. Her sign, which read “American Indians are People, Not Mascots,” is pictured in this photograph at the website of the local newspaper, The Valley News.

The crowd was indeed sold-out, mostly North Dakotans cheering on their Sioux.

Finally, I erred in not promptly posting this wonderful e-mail from a reader, demonstrating that something can be both a person and a mascot.

Dear Joe:

It’s been all quiet on the “hostile and offensive” front lately as the dust-up created by Josie Harper’s advance apology seems to have faded away and finally tonight we have a hockey game.

Having heard or read nothing to the contrary it seems that UND President Charles Kupchella’s letter to the Dartmouth President seeking assurances of respect for the Fighting Sioux team members during the tournament achieved the desired outcome. You’ll let us know if otherwise I trust.

Kupchella invited his Dartmouth counterpart to visit the UND campus to gauge for himself the level of hostility and offensiveness evident towards the Native American community. Such a visit might prove to be useful in reviewing and formulating school policy about competing against teams with Native American names which the Dartmouth President has promised beginning in January.

If he visits UND at Grand Forks, on the way from the airport he’ll likely see this sign, or one of these cars with this plate and an officer in uniform displaying this shoulder patch. North Dakotans of all races do not consider these images to be hostile or offensive. Evidently the fine townsfolk of Merrimack don’t either. Nor do the people of these communities from across the nation. The Dartmouth President might even begin to understand that he is making his judgments from a pocket of academic isolation in rural N.H. He might also see that most folks don’t see that it is even an issue including Native Americans with the exception of activists or newly hired NCAA self-promoters with a social agenda and an axe to grind.

But, when he does consider his promised policy review on Native American nicknames and logos he should take a look at this one from the Pontiac Motor Division. Pontiac invites us to buy its logo merchandise at this site. Pontiac is named for Chief Pontiac as is the city of Pontiac, Michigan, where the car company was started. The NCAA has a sponsorship agreement with the Pontiac Motor Division of GM and has designated the company a “Corporate Champion,” one of only three such named.

If the Dartmouth President is truly concerned by allegedly “hostile and offensive” Native American logos and wants to be entirely consistent with his policy, he should review his school’s alliance with and membership in the NCAA. And Josie Harper should issue another apology for the pain that Dartmouth’s NCAA membership has caused and will cause in the college’s community. She should also recommend to the Dartmouth President that her athletic department budget should not benefit from NCAA sponsorship funds and that all NCAA checks for conference shares be returned by Dartmouth to the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. That is, if they want to be consistent.

Good luck to the Dartmouth Big Green Somethings tonight.
UPDATE: Shelby Grantham is an instructor, not a professor. And given the present state of my inbox there is limited love for her among students and alumni. To learn of this animus, some e-mailers advise simply Googling.

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