Letter to the editor: Lawyers didn’t need to get involved in nickname issueI am so very grateful to the Committee for Understanding and Respect and the Spirit Lake Nation for taking the lead in the fight to keep the Sioux nickname, along with so many fine people at Standing Rock who’ve had a little tougher go of it but will very hopefully soon get their say.
By: Michael C. Shockman, LaMoure, N.D. , The Jamestown Sun
I am so very grateful to the Committee for Understanding and Respect and the Spirit Lake Nation for taking the lead in the fight to keep the Sioux nickname, along with so many fine people at Standing Rock who’ve had a little tougher go of it but will very hopefully soon get their say.
I’ve spoken out on this issue for a number of years now. Back through my grandfathers I have been here for significantly more than 100 years and believe there are a lot of people who can and do respect that and they are all not just white. Nor do I ever recall having heard anything bad said about the Indians from my grandfathers on down.
I think that many Native Americans, like myself and others, realize that despite our successes we are a small state and it would be wise to expand our friendships, particularly to our neighbors. Despite so many advances in technology, etc., it seems like that has deteriorated somewhat in recent times. We do not have to be all lawyered up for everything.
I think that the people of Sun Country should know that the rather stubborn and independent-minded spirit of so many of the people of North Dakota did not begin in 1889 when North Dakota became a state. It was here long before that. I don’t know if anyone for sure even knows for how long it was here. Unfortunately, that civilization was brought nearly to the brink of annihilation in the blinking of an eye. Anyone who has taken the time to do a little research would know that it was not nearly so much by cultural advances but by advances in numbers and technology, particularly weapons technology. When everything was equal, the Indians, and especially the Sioux, nearly always won. That certainly deserves some respect as does things like electricity and running water from the other side. I think we should call things fairly equal and try to move forward together as best we can.
It is totally disgusting that the State Board of Higher Education — unelected bureaucrats — would try to override the wishes of nearly 17,000 generally honest North Dakotans and put the entire issue in the hands of a few slick lawyers. I hope that all our past, current and possibly future representatives, regardless of party, are noticing this.
Next time they come begging for the biggest chunk of taxpayer dollars (no offense to Jamestown College, a private university) I would suggest taking about 10-25 percent of it and giving it back to the Indians. See how they do with it.
Michael C. Shockman