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Friday, April 09, 2010
Fighting Sioux Retired

Following a North Dakota Supreme Court ruling yesterday, it appears that the University of North Dakota "Fighting Sioux" mascot/nickname/moniker is now officially retired. The North Dakota Board of Higher Education voted months ago to retire the highly controversial moniker, but had been blocked in its efforts to carry out its retirement decision by a lawsuit filed by members of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe. The ND Supreme Court ruling effectively permits the Board of Higher Education to make the retirement determination at any time despite separate and ongoing settlement negotiations with the NCAA in connection with its 2005 "hostile and abusive" mascot policy. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the Board reiterated its previous decision to once and for all retire the logo. The Board sent a letter to UND President Robert Kelley to begin the logo/mascot transition immediately.

The "Fighting Sioux" nickname/moniker has engendered deeply divided and passionate debate in North Dakota and amongst the two primary Sioux tribes in the area, the Spirit Lake Tribe and the Standing Rock Tribe. Under the NCAA's policy that outlaws hostile and offensive mascots, University leadership can, despite the policy, still secure approval from local tribes and continue to use American Indian mascots. Florida State University has secured approval from the Florida Seminole Tribe and continues to use "Seminoles" and "Chief Osceola" as its mascot and nickname. The University of Utah has secured approval from the local Ute Tribe and continues to use "Runnin' Utes" as its nickname.

Under a settlement reached nearly three years ago, the University of North Dakota was given three years by the NCAA to secure approval of both the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in order to continue to use the "Fighting Sioux" as its logo and nickname. UND was successful in gaining the approval of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe but had not been able to gain support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe although it had until November 2010 to do so. Notwithstanding, the Board of Higher Education has ended the controversy simply by voting to retire the controversial mascot. This decision was motivated in part by UND's desire to join the Summit League for purposes of basketball league play and the Conference's refusal to admit UND until it had settled its mascot issues.


I feel like this is the right thing to do, you have to respect the natives legacy even if it means taking on a new mascot and completely rebranding.

Blogger Dennis Gamble -- 4/09/2010 11:53 AM  

Finally. This University of North Dakota dispute has dragged on for more than four years. Finally the school board has decided to do the right thing. Anyone who agrees that Native American mascots "honor" should watch "In Whose Honor?" about Charlene Teeters and the University of Illinois, Fighting Illini controversy (thankfully laid to rest by the NCAA policy).

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/09/2010 12:32 PM  

The rebranding does make sense. It is difficult to justify though when the Washington Redskins represent a far more derogatory term than merely referring to the name of a tribe.

Anonymous Dave T. -- 4/09/2010 8:06 PM  

What should Holy Cross do if someone whose heritage is in the Middle East takes offense at their "Crusader" name? Should they honor that individual's - - or group's - - legacy?

There are lots of schools that could face this kind of action if other activist groups get involved...

Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon -- 4/10/2010 3:56 PM  

Hmm, perhaps you are right. So there should be changes.

Anonymous gih -- 4/15/2010 4:38 AM  


Anonymous Anonymous -- 3/15/2011 3:02 PM  

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