SVDN Media Statement Re: Zach Whitecloud (2023.05.10)

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation acknowledges the immediate apology extended by ESPN and John Anderson in response to the inappropriate comments made regarding Zach Whitecloud’s name on national television. While we are disheartened by the initial remarks, we appreciate the swift recognition of the issue and the subsequent apology.

Zach Whitecloud is a source of great pride for our community, as he embraces his cultural heritage, upbringing, and the legacy of his grandfather’s last name. We commend Zach for his strength in carrying our cultural traditions with him and for being the first to address this situation.

It is crucial to understand that derogatory remarks or jokes about Indigenous names or identities perpetuate harmful stereotypes and contribute to the marginalization of Indigenous peoples. While the apology from John Anderson and ESPN is appreciated, it is essential that we use this incident as an opportunity for education and growth. We hope that this incident serves as a learning lesson for all involved and encourages a deeper understanding of cultural sensitivity and respect. It is incumbent upon media organizations to recognize the impact of their words and actions and take steps to promote inclusivity and respect for all cultures.

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation continues to stand behind Zach Whitecloud, offering our unwavering support. We encourage a positive and educational approach to moving forward from this incident. By working together, we can foster a society that values and respects the cultural diversity of its members.

We appreciate the apology extended by John Anderson and ESPN and look forward to seeing a genuine commitment to fostering understanding and respect in the future.