April 08, 2010

"Fighting Sioux" knocked out

UPDATED:  Higher ed board votes to retire UND Fighting Sioux nickname, logo

By Chuck HagaThe state Board of Higher Education decided today to retire the UND Fighting Sioux logo and nickname and directed Chancellor Bill Goetz to so advise UND President Robert Kelley and urge him to begin the transition.

The board's president, Richie Smith, brought up the logo issue at the end of an all-day meeting, noting that as the board convened this morning the state Supreme Court affirmed a district court ruling that struck down an injunction that had been sought by several members of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe.

Smith noted that the board voted in May 2009 to retire the name. Lifting the injunction put that action back into effect, he said, and unless he heard a motion to reconsider, "the name is dropped."
So long, Sioux

After years of heated debate, UND will replace its nickname and logo

By Chuck Haga
In the end, the decision came with a shrug and a sigh.

The University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, cherished symbols of athletic teams for nearly 80 years, must be consigned to history, the State Board of Higher Education ruled here Thursday.

The board directed Chancellor Bill Goetz to immediately advise UND President Robert Kelley by letter that the university should begin its transition away from the logo and nickname.
No immediate changes expected at Ralph Engelstad Arena as Sioux nickame retired

By Brad E. SchlossmanNothing will be changing in Ralph Engelstad Arena if general manager Jody Hodgson has anything to say about it.

Despite Thursday’s ruling by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education to begin retiring the Fighting Sioux name and logo at the University of North Dakota, the privately owned arena–with an estimated 3,000 Sioux logos in it–might remain in its current state.

Speaking from Chicago, Hodgson again debunked the urban legend that there’s a secret document from Ralph Engelstad calling for the closing of the 11,640-seat venue if the nickname ever changes.

In fact, Hodgson says it is his wish that nothing changes at all.

“The first thing I have to do is fully analyze and understand what’s happened today,” Hodgson said.

“I’ll have to discuss this with the board (of directors) as well. But, if I have anything to do with it, nothing in the building will ever change. Nobody will ever be allowed to change anything.

“It would be the utmost sign of disrespect if anybody ever tries to deface that building. If I have anything to say on the matter, that will never happen. Never.”
Comment:  Good riddance to perhaps the last major Indian mascot on the college level without tribal approval.

But as Hodgson's comments show, the mascot lovers won't go away without a fight. I expect the "Fighting Sioux" to linger another 3-5 years just like Chief Illiniwek did.

We should revisit this issue in a few years to see if the dire predictions came true. Did people lose respect for Sioux warriors? Did they forget the Sioux even existed? I'm guessing neither of these things will happen.

For more on the subject, see Fighting the "Fighting Sioux" and Team Names and Mascots.

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