North Dakota voters push Fighting Sioux nickname closer to retirement after lengthy dispute

  • Article by: DAVE KOLPACK , Associated Press
  • Updated: June 13, 2012 - 7:59 AM
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siouxchampJun. 12, 12 7:52 AM

University of Fighting Sioux Hockey-A Tradition of Excellence.

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remington22Jun. 12, 12 7:57 AM

"A yes vote would seemingly retire the nickname, but even that may be temporary." ***Yes, temporary only in the fact that there is a possibility of a November ballot, but if it is voted down today, it will be highly probable that it will be voted down in November as well, if it even gets on the Nov ballot. It is reasonable to expect that fewer people will be interested in supporting the petition drive to gain the Nov ballot because the message is loud and clear that the majority desire closure on this fast-becoming dead horse issue. The only way this controversy continues is if the name is retained by a prevailing NO vote in today's primary. If so, the UND will be expected to fight that undesirable result until hell freezes over as it will be fighting for its health and well-being, if not its life as we know it today. The plight of the effort to keep the name following a prevailing YES vote today will be met with an immovable burden. Immovable given the resistance of people who are no longer interested in supporting what is clearly a losing battle in the face of significant, reputable and recognized opposition. It will be insurmountable! Fewer and fewer people will be interested in contributing to the financial requirements. The world will have moved on. The UND will have chosen a replacement team name, retired the Fighting Sioux icon and moved on as well. With the prevailing YES vote today, as indicated by various polls, there is very little "temporary" about it! The slope will have just gotten much slipperier.

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scottnycJun. 12, 12 8:39 AM

I'm as liberal as could be but I always thought the tribes were missing an opportunity to parlay the controversy into something to their benefit. I would think the schools would be happy to include historical and cultural info in their programs and such in exchange for the name usage. That said, people really get hung up on nicknames. And think how much $$ the schools could make in selling all new stuff.

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parks12005Jun. 12, 12 9:57 AM

Skip the sensitivity training, and keep the name.

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tmrichardsonJun. 12, 1210:34 AM

Scottnyc--your question is very good. In fact, members of the Standing Rock tribe that have long pushed to retain the name were thinking exactly that. A few of them were negotiating with UND to provide more scholarships and other benefits to band members when the whole thing fell apart over an athletics threat. It's a complex issue though--Standing Rock's council has refused to allow a band vote on the issue. At one time they said that wasn't allowed, then band members pointed out they did hold band wide votes on several other matters. A significant percentage of standing rock members signed a petition to keep the name. The majority of towns who voted individually voted to keep the name. Standing Rock straddles two states, lapping well over in to South Dakota as well. Both Standing Rock and the other sioux band in the state--Spirit Lake--were excluded from discussions over resolving the issue by UND and the NCAA. They were not brought to the table at all--yet those two decided that both must vote to resolve the issue. Not exactly the way to encourage their willingness to go along, I think most would agree.

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ericgus55Jun. 12, 1210:36 AM

The issue isn't the with the word "fighting," it's the word "Sioux" that the tribes find offensive. They didn't self-identify as such, and it was the name that the settlers called them that the natives considered derogatory. Just trying to add context to a frequently misunderstood controversy. That being said, most school officials, including Coach Hakstol, think it's time to change rather than prolong the argument, and I think they're right.

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tmrichardsonJun. 12, 1210:37 AM

Remington the problem with a vote to keep the name is that the real heart of the controversy--just how you deal with claims of racism when the group directly affected is split on the issue with a majority seemingly not upset over it--was never resolved. Voting the keep the name could in my view be temporary too--and is the only way to go back to working on the core racism issue and get it resolved, one way or another.

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tmrichardsonJun. 12, 1210:40 AM

To be fair EricGus--Hakstol and other UND officials are saying it's time to change the name NOT because they feel it's use was racist in any way. They are doing so because they want to avoid possible negative athletics issues only. They have been quite clear on that, frequently saying that they beleived they used the name honorably for years but because of fears that some won't schedule them for games etc. they want to move on. Ironically one of the big players for a name change is to something honoring Teddy R., a great president but one known for vicious statements and persecution against indians.

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ericgus55Jun. 12, 1211:04 AM

tmrichardson--The issue of disrespect and the issue of athletic competitiveness are separate reasons for making the change, but they both come down in favor of change. Whatever the reasons that motivate the individuals, those most concerned about (and responsible for) the future of the school are overwhelmingly in favor of change. Those who want to keep the name seem to be more focused on the past than the future, as I see it. I'm a U of MN guy, and I'd hate to see UND miss out on future opportunities because of this.

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pjtempleJun. 12, 1211:05 AM

I have posted this elsewhere...why doesn't the school partner somehow with the Soo Line Railroad, design a feisty-looking locomotive as a logo, and become the "Soo?" Everybody wins!

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