Unless you've been stuck in total isolation in a backwoods collapsed hovel like Fairbanks, you're probably well aware that a few years ago the NCAA forced the University of North Dakota to drop it's existing nickname because it was hostile and abusive to aboriginal Americans.
There's a lot of history between the NCAA ruling and North Dakota's selection of the name "Sundogs" this weekend. Too much to cover in this post; but of course it's worth noting that this blogger whole-heartedly supported the NCAA and was thrilled to see their original name cast into historical infamy.
My focus today is instead to celebrate the choice that North Dakotan's made. Sundogs are frankly one of the most beautiful atmospheric anomalies. We see our fair share of these here in Alaska as the conditions necessary to see a Sundog occur quite often.
I'm celebrating because I had no idea the people of that state could be so forward-thinking and progressive. The rainbow effect of the Sundog dovetails perfectly with this weeks much ballyhooed ruling from the Supreme Court of the US that same-gender marriage is now the law of the land in all 50 states. I'm absolutely stunned but intensely delighted that the citizens of the flattest, most treeless place on the planet have honored the LGBT community with the rainbow-like Sundog.
Many US states and it's citizenry have been pensively struggling to wrap their minds around the potential effects of this monumentally righteous ruling by SCOTUS. But North Dakota has beaten off the imagined social conflagration and shown it's true colors (the entire spectrum of the rainbow). Good guy North Dakota; what an amazing turn of events. It's left me with respect for that state and it's peoples that I have never had.
Even though it's Sunday (what other day could you announce Sundogs as the new name?) I managed to contact the UND LGBTQ campus organization spokesperson Chantelle Gunderson. Chantelle was overwhelmed with emotion at the honor and said this,
Our struggle here on the northern plains of the US has been especially difficult. People in this area of the country are traditionally very conservative and resistant to scientific information that factually shows LGBTQ people are products of birth and not choice.
We are overwhelmed with emotion that the super-awesome folks of North Dakota have chosen to fly our flag in support of our social agenda for equality. We're still just taking it all in but it's nothing short of fabulous.
There has been (as is the case all across the country this week) a small minority of people who do not support the name change and their fevered opposition must be noted. Billie Bob Bigotason a local sugar beet and potato farmer has been the most vocal on social media in decrying the change. Here's what he said on twitter,
Sundogs and Rainbow jerseys for our hockey team? I'm moving to Canada. #hostileandabusive #godhatesamerica #intercourseUND #frackingfags
Wow. Glad there's only a few people like that in the great state of North Dakota. I'm pretty sure UND isn't going to be wearing the gay pride flag as a jersey ... but if they did that would be tremendous too. Someone should tell Billie Bob that gay marriage is the law of the land in Canada already. He'd probably move to Mexico instead ... oh wait. It's the law of the land in Mexico too. Hey Mr. Bigotason; it's still illegal in Russia and they have a burgeoning sugar beet industry there. Could be perfect for you.
Congratulations to UND on this name selection. It's synergy with the SCOTUS ruling is a thing of beauty and the people of that state should be honored. Thank you North Dakota ... your stance in favor of equality is a huge huge huge difference from the despicable continued aggression against aboriginals native to your area of the country. Now if only we could get the NFL franchise in our nation's capital to do the same with their absolutely ridiculous nickname.
I wish I'd driven through North Dakota on my way to Chicago a few years ago instead of bypassing it in favor of the more scenic drive across South Dakota.