U of North Dakota – perpetuating stereotypes

University of North Dakota

The hypocrites that make up the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education voted last week to allow the University of North Dakota to have more time to purchase the approval of a Sioux tribe regarding UND’s racist mascot.

The University of North Dakota’s controversial “Fighting Sioux” nickname got a 30-day reprieve today, as the state’s Board of Higher Education voted, 6 to 1, to extend until October 31 the deadline for the nickname’s demise unless a tribal council announces plans to hold a referendum on its use, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The university sued the NCAA in 2006, after the association declined to grant a waiver from a policy banning American Indian imagery in team nicknames and mascots, which the NCAA deemed offensive. In settling the suit, North Dakota agreed to drop the nickname unless it could win the approval of two Sioux tribes. One tribe has endorsed the nickname, but the other has refused to even schedule a vote. (via The Chronicle)

Why are the members of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education hypocrites? On May 14, 2009, the board approved a resolution to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo:

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Federally Recognized Gay Marriage

The first federally recognized same-sex marriage will happen on the Coquille reservation in Oregon


[T]he Coquille Tribe on the southern Oregon coast has just legalized marriage on their land. And Kitzen and Jeni Branting, in a committed lesbian relationship since high school, will soon be legally wed.

Though most Native American cultures have been fairly accepting of a wide range of genders and sexualities, sometimes honoring “two-spirits” as shamans, contemporary tribal laws have mostly banned same-sex marriage.

According to Brian Gilley, anthropology professor at the University of Vermont and author of the book, Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country, “Because the Coquille is federally recognized, a marriage “occurring within the tribe would actually be federally recognized.”

via OregonLive

Cedar Falls, Iowa + flooding

flooding in Cedar Falls Iowa

I noticed this photograph on the Flickr set of the Red Cross’s Midwestern flood relief efforts. The photo provides an idea of how much water was flowing around Cedar Falls, Iowa on June 10, 2008.

Sandbagging efforts in Cedar Falls kept the raging waters of the Cedar River from flooding the downtown area. The sign is located in an area that is usually above water. My guess is that the water level in the photo is somewhere between 2 to 3 ft. high.

I was curious as to what the text on the sign said. Fortunately, a hi-resolution version of the original photograph had been uploaded and it was easy to discern the text on the marker.

By the way, I think it’s important to note that critical thinking can still exist within a discourse of support…just wanted to give everyone a heads up as I am going to delve into some thinking that is critical of a historical marker that needs some serious editing.

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Homonormativity + Dominant Paradigm

Michael Faris, a friend, fellow Iowan, hero, and gym partner of mine has written an amazing letter – “An Open Letter to My White LGBT Siblings.” The letter was initially published in the Oregon State University student-run newspaper – The Daily Barometer. The comments on the newspaper’s website to Michael’s letter have ranged from the bizarre (saying that Faris is a homophobe is like saying that I hate Star Wars), the ridiculous (one commenter seemed to think that because Michael’s letter was well-written that he must have used a thesaurus…umm Michael’s formal training is in writing, of course his letter is at a high level of articulate awesomeness), and the banal (the trolls brought along their dusty suitcases of unoriginality for most of their comments).

Here’s a brief snippet of the letter. Feel free to travel the info pipes to Michael’s blog for the full read…

And your party, asking folks to dress up like caricatures of Native Americans, is perpetuating the historical representations of racist images created and perpetuated by white society.

I am sure that you would say your party is ironic, that you knew these representations were racist, but you did it out of absurdity. I would reply that you are refusing to deal with your white privilege.

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Newberry College + racism

Newberry College Rowdy Reds racist imagery against Native Americans

Newberry College was recently forced by the NCAA to “retire the use of ‘Indians’ as the school’s athletic nickname, effective with the end of all team’s current playing seasons.”

It’s appalling to me that the Newberry College press release uses “retire” to describe the termination of their racist nickname. Newberry College should have gotten rid of their nickname a long time ago. I decided to write them a letter:

    Dear Newberry College,
    It is time to remove your nickname, do not retire it, delete it. Listen and learn, using Native American imagery/names, unless tacitly approved by a Native Nation, is racist and harmful.

    Please disband the “Indian Club” and the “Rowdy Reds.” Stop using arrowheads and spears as derogatory accessories to your racist nickname.

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