Apology for hockey tournament mascot

by Josie Harper | 11/21/06 6:00am

To the Editor:

I am writing to strongly denounce the historical and recent affronts to the Native American community at Dartmouth and to offer the support of the athletics department in playing a leading role to combat racial, ethnic and sexist ignorance and intolerance on our campus.

At the same time, I must offer a sincere apology to the Native American community, and the Dartmouth community as a whole, for an event that will understandably offend and hurt people within our community. In late December, we will host a men's ice hockey tournament that includes the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. UND is one of 14 colleges or universities that continue to maintain a Native American name and image to represent their athletic teams.

Let me state clearly that UND's position is offensive and wrong. When we scheduled UND nearly two years ago to participate in our tournament, we did so without considering their team's nickname and symbol. Perhaps we should have, but I deeply regret that we didn't.

On Friday, as I was traveling on College business, a member of my staff met with the Native American Council to discuss our hockey tournament and to offer our apology for the pain that it will cause. In the days and weeks ahead, I will develop a specific and continuing plan to address issues of respect and tolerance within the athletic department as well as considering a policy for scheduling athletic contests against institutions that support offensive nicknames and symbols.