LETTER: No Indian head logo on N.D. highway signs
It's time to replace the logo on North Dakota state highway signs and Highway Patrol vehicles.
The land that's now North Dakota was encoded by treaty of the U.S. government as belonging to American Indian tribes. Treaties were broken again and again and again, and settlers cooperated and participated in the genocide of American Indians that was the policy of the United States.
When Marcellus Red Tomahawk—the man whose image appears on North Dakota Highway Patrol vehicles and North Dakota state highway signs—shot and killed Sitting Bull while Sitting Bull allegedly was resisting arrest, he was merely an agent of a genocidal federal policy. I question why, if Red Tomahawk is being recognized as a law enforcement officer, he is portrayed in traditional American Indian regalia? If settlers hated, feared and killed American Indians, why is this image on Highway Patrol vehicles and state highway signs?
The image of Marcellus Red Tomahawk was placed on state highway signs in the 1920s, 30 years after Sitting Bull was killed. Was this action partly expressing a longing for American Indian people and lifeways on the landscape once more?
It's clear that the current path of industrialization, hydraulic fracturing, colonization and manifest destiny as well as the doctrine of discovery, empire and suppression of indigenous perspectives and lifeways are leading to ruin. Let's consider other narratives, other possibilities. Let us not be genocide deniers.