United Tribes NewsGipp commends NCAA action on UND
8 August 2005
BISMARCK, ND - BISMARCK (UTN) - The president of United Tribes Technical College says the NCAA was right to sanction the University of North Dakota. David M. Gipp believes that his alma mater has been provided with another opportunity to do the right thing.
"I commend the NCAA for its action," said Gipp, a 1969 UND alumnus. "Their action recognizes that the time is long overdue to drop the 'Fighting Sioux' nickname and all the negative things that go with it."
The NCAA announced sanctions August 5 against UND and other colleges that use American Indian imagery, nicknames or mascots. The association said it considered their use racially hostile and abusive.
Gipp said he believes the State Board of Higher Education should take this opportunity to reconsider its action in 2001 when they voted to continue using the nickname.
"We need to enter into the 21st Century is what it boils down to," said Gipp. "These names are a holdover from the 19th and early 20th Centuries and don't have place in society today."
Gipp said he is supportive of UND's American Indian programs. He said the NCAA action is a positive step that can help UND become an institution that values and respects all the students it serves, including American Indians.
Those who worry that other issues suffer when the mascot issue is debated are unaware of the great amount of work that's been going on for a long time in Indian Country, he said.
"American Indian people are working with critical issues like suicide and poverty everyday of their lives," said Gipp. "The nickname issue is symptomatic of the underlying causes for a long history of neglect that continues to plague Indian people today."
Gipp made his views about UND known in a July 13 letter to the NCAA during the association's review of schools using American Indian mascots and logos.
Gipp wrote: "Racism does not originate in a sports team nickname, but it certainly provides a good excuse for continuing racial stereotypes that demean American Indians, who are very much still alive and present in their homelands across the United States. Removing the nickname removes one more excuse for being racist."
In July of 2005, Gipp sent a letter outlining his views on this issue to the president of the NCAA, Myles Brand. The text of this letter can be viewed at: http://www.uttc.edu/news/speech/080505_01.asp
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