The University of North Dakota finally succumbs to the inevitable and declares the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname will be eliminated by Aug. 1, 2010 unless another Sioux tribe approves it.The University of North Dakota finally succumbs to the inevitable and declares the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname will be eliminated by Aug. 1, 2010 unless another Sioux tribe approves it.
The state’s Board of Higher Education made the decision at a board meeting yesterday. The school had been under file from the NCAA over the use of the mark, which has been criticized by American Indian advocates as being racist and promoting a false stereotype. The NCAA had cracked down on Indian-related logo some years ago, but with one out: if a school could find local American Indian tribes to sign off on the logo and nicknames, no changes would be required. That’s what Florida State did to ensure continued use of the Seminoles name and logo.
But UND came up short for ratification from two local tribes: the Sioux Lake tribe did give approval but the Standing Rock tribe has refused. While that could change — the tribe has until Oct. 1 to do so — the school decided to go ahead with the name change at this time.
There are some pragmatic considerations here. The biggest hurdle to changing the name came when the family of Ralph Englestad, who built Engelstad Arena and still control it, said they’d go along with whatever decision the Indian tribes made regarding the logo and mark; Engelstad was a fierce defender of the Fighting Sioux name and embedded hundreds of the logos in the arena. Plus, the name change gives UND a chance to join the 11-team Summit League, a Division I conference seeking a 12th member. Summit League schools had said they would never accept UND as long as the Fighting Sioux name was used.
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