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It might be time to say goodbye to the “Fighting Sioux” moniker

Jun 13, 2012, 10:09 AM EDT

North Dakota Fighting Sioux

The University of North Dakota will be looking for a new nickname for their sports teams.

Voters in North Dakota chose to retire the Fighting Sioux moniker the university’s sports teams have had for year by a 67.35 percent to 32.65 percent margin according to the Grand Forks Herald.

The Fighting Sioux name has come under fire in recent years thanks to the NCAA looking to move away from “hostile and abusive” nicknames and mascots for schools. North Dakota’s men’s hockey team fought hard to keep the name, but the NCAA and member conferences in other sports put the squeeze on the university by threatening to ban the school from playoffs because of the name.

University president Robert Kelley sounds resigned to giving up the name in a statement after the vote.

We are appreciative that voters took the time to listen and to understand the issues and the importance of allowing the University to move forward.  We also understand how deeply this has affected all of us.

Tuesday’s vote allows us to focus our attention on our students as we continue to build exceptional programs in all areas of the University.  We appreciate the support that has been expressed for the University of North Dakota over the past several weeks, and especially for UND Athletics.  It is support that will continue to be important as we build a great future for the University and for UND Athletics.

We will continue to work with the State Board of Higher Education, the North Dakota University System, and the leadership in athletics as we move forward.

The school has fought hard to keep the name and while they’ve been respectful of the Sioux name, it appears change is coming for North Dakota.

(h/t Jennifer Conway on UND statement)

  1. lucicfan603 - Jun 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    That’s really a shame that they must change the nickname of a school because it is looked at as abusive and offensive

    • eggserino - Jun 13, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      Could it also be thought of as really a shame and short sighted that a group of white men decided that it’s ok to use a name of a people that they committed genocide against as a mascot to entertain the crowd?

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        I’m a Gopher fan, and I can’t stand anything assoicated with North Dakota. However, they are getting the shaft on this one.

        Explain to me how the Florida State Seminoles isn’t offensive?

        Explain to me how the Notre Dame Fighting Irish isn’t offensive?

        Part of the deal to get their brand new and awesome arena, was that the Fighting Sioux nickname must stay. Somewhere Ralph Englestad is puking. If he was still alive, he’d burn the Ralph down.

      • creasemasta41 - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        Im pretty sure The fighting part of it makes them seem like a strong tribe, which isn’t a bad thing. And all that happened 200 years ago, quit living in the past and get over it. Its buzzkill morons like you that enjoy taking the fun out of things for other people. It is a shame to see such a great hockey tradition and one of the best logos in hockey so abruptly taken away thanks to people like you.

      • adtheisen - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        And get your facts straight. The name was given to the University by the Sioux tribe in a religious ceremony

      • eggserino - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        @adtheisen Your’s is the best argument for an exception in this case. The fact that there is such a positive relationship between the school and the tribe should matter. There is no doubt that this feels heavy-handed from the NCAA brass.

        I made the statement above because it’s important to consider all sides of the situation before coming to a judgment. Yes, the winners get to write the history. They aught to write it with grace and honor their opponent.

      • bisonaudit - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        When UND tried to retire the nickname in the middle of construction of the new arena Ralph Englestad did threaten to “burn it down” (actually, stop construction, abandon the site and let the ND winter take its toll) in a letter to the University and the State Board of Higher Education.

        He extorted them into keeping the nickname this long.

        They tried that religious ceremony angle in court. They didn’t win.

  2. eggserino - Jun 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    I was talking to a guy who helped to build the curent Ralph Engelstad arena a while back. He told me that it’s going to cost the school a significant amount of money to remove all of the mascot references from that building as they are built into the construction. Things like indian heads on capstones and engraved into load-bearing cement stanchions…

    • quizguy66 - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      That was a condition set by the donor – basically in an effort to make it harder/more of a pain to change the name. The building was designed and built after the NCAA efforts started.


    • bisonaudit - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      The agreement with the NCAA gives them time to remove the difficult and expensive representations and I believe even some outright exemptions in some places.

  3. nepo784 - Jun 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Here we go with the PC police, again… How about they change their names to the North Dakota Hockey Guys? Oh that wont work because thats discrimination towards women…. You PC douches need a high five in the face with a chair

    • eggserino - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” – Sir Edmund Burke

      • kitshky - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:10 PM

        Thanks for that … “if at first you don’t succeed try again”, “a watched pot never boils”, “consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative” … we’re playing the irrelevant quotes game right”?

  4. anarchopurplism - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    White Anglo-Saxon’s in Minnesota just shed a tear. There is hope that someday, perhaps they will be freed of the discrimination from the Vikings

  5. bosbruin - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    WOW. I guess tradition counts for nothing anymore. North Dakota has a huge hockey tradition and has develop[ed some amazing NHL talent. I read awhile back that even the heads of some local tribes were ok with keeping the name. What’s next? The Fighting Irish? Over my dead Irish-American body!!!!

  6. hrudey - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Yes, let’s let a bunch of out-of-touch idiots decide what is and isn’t controversial. (And I apologize for any people who are offended by the term idiots, and I did not mean to imply that idiots were as stupid as the NCAA, an organization that manages to turn the simple act of being stupid into an elaborate celebration of willful ignorance.)

    If the Sioux had a problem with the name, or even if it were presented in a patently disrespectful manner (see the Washington Danskins), sure, pushing for change is reasonable. But this just tells young boys and girls of Sioux descent that they’re not “good enough” to be a mascot, that their very existence is offensive.

    • bisonaudit - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      They don’t want it.

      Both counties containing reservations votes against retaining the nickname. The Standing Rock Tribe’s elected leaders have been consistently against its use for years.

      UND had 3 years to get a deal done with them and they failed. The NCAA gave them every opportunity to comply with the agreement that UND made willingly with the NCAA. It’s nonsense to talk like the NCAA took something away from UND. UND failed to live up to their end of the agreement.

  7. michiganhockey11 - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Have people of the Sioux tribe actually said they find it offensive? Or is it the stereotypical white guy thay claims to take issue with it? They said the same thing about the Central Michigan Chippewas, and the tribe gave them their blessing to use the name and it’s a source of great pride at the college.

    From a hockey perspective, it’s great history and it’s a great/freaking awesome logo for a jersey.

    Shame on the PC police on this one.

    Gotta get my jersey soon….

    • michiganhockey11 - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      *Strike the thing abotu CMU-was just told at work that while the tribe was fine with it, the NCAA made the school change. They are now known as the “Chips”……somebody ought to tell the NCAA that they have a case of the Mondays.

    • bisonaudit - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      UND had 3 years to get approval from both ND tribes. They failed to do so. So yes, the Sioux tribes actual said they find it offensive.

  8. michiganhockey11 - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Change it to the “Fighting White Middle Aged Men.” We’re not allowed to be offended.

  9. bisonaudit - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    They weren’t going to get banned from playoff competition. The sanction was that they wouldn’t be allowed to host playoff competition and they wouldn’t be allowed to wear the logo in playoff competition.

  10. kcredneck - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Thi could make SITTING BULL stand up!!!!

  11. michiganhockey11 - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    This is going to kill recruiting for the school. Put it in stone.

  12. lostpuppysyndrome - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    The problem is the higher education system in the US is run by disconnected, bleeding heart, soft-as-marshmallow libs (not that all libs fit this description). This really doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Expect more school names to receive the same treatment in the future.

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