Opinion: Eliminating 'Indian' mascots hurts Indians
"By edict of the NCAA Executive Committee, NCAA-sanctioned championships were not to be held on campuses whose mascots or nicknames derived from some aspect of American Indian heritage. Thus, William and Mary should not be known as the Indians and settled for the nickname the Tribe. Arkansas State should not be known as the Indians and changed its nickname to Red Wolves - forget People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The University of Illinois' logo until recently showed the stern countenance of an Indian chieftain in full headdress, representing its nickname, the Fighting Illini - the Illini being a local Indian tribe. Somehow the university was allowed to keep the nickname but had to cashier the handsome logo for a large orange "I" that looks like an industrial caution sign.

Now American Indians in the great state of North Dakota have stood up for good sense and respect for their tradition. Since the NCAA's fussiness, members of the Spirit Lake Tribe of the Sioux Nation have resisted attempts at the University of North Dakota to expurgate its nickname, the Fighting Sioux. I wish the argumentative Brand were around to observe the spectacle and possibly to contemplate the nonsensical debate his meddling has caused, not only at the University of North Dakota, but at the aforementioned universities and at a dozen other colleges.

"When you hear them announce the name at the start of a hockey game [UND has an enthusiasm for hockey not unlike IU's for basketball], it gives you goose bumps," Frank Black Cloud - not surprisingly a Sioux - told the New York Times. "They are putting us on a pinnacle." Well, of course they are. Why would a university, or for that matter a sports team, adopt as a nickname or a mascot something that was not inspiring?

The politically correct fussbudgets and various malcontents insist that these Indian remembrances are hostile references or somehow insulting to Indians. Actually, as anyone with any sense knows, they are acknowledgments of the tribes' dignity and original inhabitancy of the land. Extirpate their names and it is just another extirpation of their history. Doing so is what one might expect from Americans who hated the Indians, and there was a time when many Americans did. Adopting references to them is a way to honor them. Mr. Black Cloud is right."

Get the Story:
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr: Expurgating team names (The Washington Times 12/18)