In 2005, the NCAA began its crusade against universities with racially “hostile or abusive” logos and nicknames. Among its targets: Florida State’s Seminoles, the University of Illinois’ Chief Illiniwek, and yes, UND’s Fighting Sioux.
Last year, the North Dakota State Board of Education voted to retire the nickname completely, which will happen following the 2010-2011 school year.
But supporters of the Sioux nickname will not let it go without a fight. Who exactly are these supporters? Some are UND athletes, some are students, and a number of alumni proud of their university’s tradition. Among the most vocal proponents of keeping the school’s mascot are, – surprise, surprise – the Sioux.
Two tribes are considered the namesake of UND’s mascot: the Spirit Lake Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux. From the very beginning, the Spirit Lake Tribe has been supportive of the mascot, voting last year to continue its use. Tribe member and logo supporter Eunice Davidson told the NCAA that, “the vast majority of all people across our state feel great pride and honor” for the Fighting Sioux mascot.
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