April 21, 2009

Spirit Lake votes for "Fighting Sioux"

Spirit Lake voters overwhelmingly support Fighting Sioux nicknameSpirit Lake voters apparently overwhelmingly support UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname in a referendum Tuesday.

Late Tuesday, the Herald was still trying to verify the results with election judges. But nickname supporter Eunice Davidson said her source at the ballot counting site said the unofficial results are 774 “yes” to 378 “no,” giving the nickname 67 percent of the vote.
And:Terry Morgan, a key anti-nickname organizer, said his side just didn’t have enough time. He’d recently gone to a pro-nickname household, he said, shared information and converted them.

“If I could honestly sit down with a lot of people, I could talk a lot of people out of it,” Morgan said. He’s not sure what nickname opponents will do next, he said, but they’ll still keep fighting.
Comment:  This outcome doesn't particularly faze me. UND has eliminated its stereotypical chief mascot. Many people consider "fighting," like "warrior," a virtue.

The name is stereotypical, but I wouldn't say it's especially offensive or racist. As mascot problems go, it's relatively minor.

In other words, it's not an in-your-face insult like Chief Wahoo or Chief Illiniwek. So I can see why the Spirit Lake voters approved it. They haven't thought about the subtle, long-term harm of Native stereotyping.

I think the Spirit Lake voters will change their minds eventually. It took, what, a century to eliminate the minstrel-show stereotypes that sprang up after the Civil War? I think it'll take about as long to eliminate Indian mascots.

No comments: