After a lengthy legal battle that seemed to stretch out for decades even though it has been only four years on that particular Trail of Tears, a North Dakota Supreme Court ruling, in concert with a Board of Education decision, has effectively retired the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and associated imagery for good.
The university has been under extreme pressure from special interest groups to part with the nickname after the school raised its profile after beginning the jump from Division I to Division II athletics.
What made the issue such an interesting case was the fact that some tribes in North Dakota believed that the nickname was a show of respect to the culture and tradition of the tribes in the area, while tribes didn’t support it or wouldn’t take a stand either way.
Supporters contend that the nickname shows pride and tradition, but the NCAA considers the nickname “hostile and offensive” and said the university could not be the host of postseason events without approval from the state’s two Sioux tribes. Under the settlement, the board and university agreed to begin retiring the nickname by Nov. 30 if they couldn’t obtain permission from the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes.
Spirit Lake tribal members have voted to support the nickname, but the Standing Rock tribal council has resisted calls for it to change its bylaws to allow a vote. -Star Tribune.
Whichever side of the tipi you find yourself on regarding this issue, the fact is the University of North Dakota now has to decide on a new nickname, which should be an exciting event fraught with disagreements and impassioned arguments.
If I could throw a nickname out there, I would go with the University of North Dakota Rjeindeer-Fju**ers. You know, given the large Norwegian population residing in the Peace Garden State.
Note: seriously, that really is a derogatory name used for Norweigans. It certainly is illustrative, to say the least.