I winced at a detail in an article in the July 17 Tribune, titled "Sheriff's Office Adds a Second K-9 Officer, Durman."
The article states: (Deputy Daran) "Borth said he chose the name Durman
because it is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name for someone that is as brave and bold as a wild animal."
It seems trivial. People have long been known to name animals based on traits they identify in themselves, in their animals, or both. Bravery and boldness seem like good ones for a K-9 unit to have. Fair enough.
But why an "ancient Anglo-Saxon" name?
"Ancient Anglo-Saxon" may not refer to a specific ethnic identity, but it
does denote the beginning of a brutal, centuries-long tradition of white
Europeans imposing the original Anglo-Saxon traditions/values -
Christianity, the English language, even the basis of our current legal
system - on anyone who dared differ.
The Anglo-Saxons were an aggressive, conquering people who demanded total cultural conformity from their conquered. That tradition has continued to this day.
I don't mean to personally attack the deputy or assume his worst intent.
Maybe he just saw the name "Durman" in a History Channel re-run and liked what it stood for-that it sounds much like his own. But why tout such a problematic origin at a time when law enforcement agencies nationwide are already contending with systemic inequalities in how they interact with
communities they are sworn to protect?
I understand one K-9 dog's name won't make a lot of difference one way or
the other. But extending an olive branch never hurt, either.
Becker County's population is nearly 10% indigenous, according to 2018
government data. That figure was closer to 100% before the Anglo-Saxon tradition made its way here. Local indigenous cultures are full of elegant names denoting boldness and bravery that don't roll off the tongue like a
canceled Simpsons character.
Why not one of those, instead?-Nathaniel Kitzmann, Detroit Lakes