By Bill LeCaine
CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- I'm a Lakota Sioux and was born on the Wood Mountain Lakota Sioux reservation in Wood Mountain, Sask. That was where Sitting Bull and his people fled to in order to escape the U.S. Army after the battle of the Little Big Horn.
My mother took me off the reserve at age 4 or 5, and I lived with her on skid row until the government took me from her. After that, I lived in children's shelters and foster homes.
I attended UND on a hockey scholarship and later played 14 years as a pro, including playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League.
I'm proud to have worn the "Fighting Sioux" logo and of what it stands for.
The name was chosen for all the right reasons: honor, pride, courage, respect and dignity, along with family and religious ethics that people are proud of. Most alumni with whom I've spoken did not attend UND for the "Fighting Sioux" logo or name. But they did learn to love the name and school and everything that they stand for today.
Somebody once said that nothing happens until someone says something. More important, nothing happens unless someone is listening. I hope that 100 years from now, North Dakotans can say we made the right decision. Good things happen when good people do the right thing.
A few years ago, I met an author who wrote books about genocides that happened in the course of history. He also raised money for synagogues so that the world would not forget the Holocaust. I asked him if he included in his books the genocide perpetrated on American Indians by our own government. He was embarrassed to tell me that he had forgotten that very significant part of our history and assured me it would be in his next book.
Only 130 years have passed since the battle of the Little Big Horn; how soon we forget. The Fighting Sioux name and the programs that UND has for American Indians are a tribute to and should serve as a reminder of that part of history. I'm also a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in South Dakota because of my great-grandfather, Black Moon, who fought with Sitting Bull. My grandfather, John O'kute Sica, was a historian and writer.
A German publishing company just printed a book with his writings of history and what might happen in the future. This summer, it will be published in English. For my part, I only hope that my writings of the present can say that good people who do good things can have a profound impact on history and on the Indian nations that have not had many good things happen to them. And I hope that my writings about the future will say what an uplifting occasion this was for all American Indians. Let's think about the future and not get stuck in the "now and immediate" time frame.
To sum up, I can say that everything I've accomplished today as an athlete, a father and a business person, I owe to hockey and UND. LeCaine is president and CEO of Arrow Technologies, an Indian-owned company that designs and installs copper and fiber-optic systems. He was the first American Indian to play in the National Hockey League.