Last Updated:August 29 @ 09:46 pm

PC wins: Fighting Sioux nickname out

By Dave Kolpack

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota residents say they've had enough of a decades-old controversy on its flagship university's nickname.

Voters overwhelmingly decided Tuesday to dump the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux moniker, an issue that has put its athletic teams at risk of NCAA sanctions and divided sports fans, alumni and even tribes. But even for the winners, the outcome was bittersweet.

"This is a political matter with no celebration," said Tim O'Keefe, executive vice president and CEO of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, who led a campaign to retire the nickname. "We've said all along that this is not an issue about preference. Clearly if that were the case, the name would be staying. The price of keeping the name is simply too high."

Some American Indians from the state's two namesake tribes lobbied for the name and logo to be kept, arguing that they reflected a positive image for their tribes. Eunice Davidson, an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake tribe and member of the committee to save the nickname, was too devastated to talk about the result, her husband Dave Davidson said.

"I will be honest with you. I'm heartbroken and I'm ashamed of this state," Dave Davidson said. "On the other hand, there are a lot of wonderful people we have met in the course of this."

Voters in Tuesday's North Dakota primary were asked whether to uphold or reject the Legislature's repeal of a state law requiring the school to use the nickname. The vote sends the matter back to the state's Board of Higher Education, which is expected to re-retire the nickname and American Indian head logo that seven years ago was deemed hostile and abusive by the NCAA.

The final tally showed about 68 percent voted in favor of retiring the nickname, but the divide was still evident at the voting booths. Only one county voted to save the nickname. Billings County, in far western North Dakota. Residents there voted 150-148 against retiring the name.

Lynn Megal, a 59-year-old stay-at-home mom in Bismarck, said she voted to keep the name. Scott Neumann, a 59-year-old high school orchestra teacher in Bismarck, said the moniker is offensive and voted to dump it.

"I'm Irish. I don't have any complaints about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish," Megal said.

Said Neumann, "I'm happy to see the opportunity to get rid of it. Native American logos have been abused in too many schools around the country."

Robert Kelley, the UND president, said the vote will allow the college to focus on its students.

"We are appreciative that voters took the time to listen and to understand the issues and the importance of allowing the university to move forward," Kelley said in a statement. "We also understand how deeply this has affected all of us."

The group that collected petitions for the ballot measure has said it will pursue another vote in the fall to make Fighting Sioux part of the state constitution. Sean Johnson, spokesman for the nickname group, said the results were disappointing but that they plan to continue gathering petitions.

"We don't have the option of forfeiting," he said. "There are more things at stake than some unfounded concerns about the athletic program."

Advocates for retiring the nickname say the issue is hurting the athletic department in recruiting and scheduling. Some fear it could affect the school's standing in the Big Sky Conference. Supporters of the name say coaches and administrators are exaggerating the harmful effects, including the conference threat, and don't believe the NCAA sanctions are a big deal.

The NCAA banned UND from hosting postseason tournaments and said the school could not use the nickname or logo in postseason play, or else it must forfeit those games. The men's hockey team wore Sioux-logo jerseys in the regular season but switched sweaters in the playoffs.

A settlement agreement with the NCAA called for UND to retire the nickname unless it received approval from both the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes by the end of 2010. Only Spirit Lake passed a resolution supporting the name. Standing Rock has not held a vote.

The law forcing the school to use the name and logo was approved in March 2011 but was repealed in a special session after NCAA representatives told state officials that it would not budge on sanctions. Johnson's group then collected the necessary signatures for the ballot measure.

Johnson said his group was outspent 25-to-1.

O'Keefe said the alumni association spent about $250,000 on the campaign to retire the nickname, all through donations. His group is prepared to launch a similar effort against a possible constitutional amendment, but O'Keefe is calling on the nickname backers to stand down.

`'All it does is hold the University of North Dakota hostage and create more division," he said.

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Associated Press writer James MacPherson contributed to this report from Bismarck, N.D.

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PC wins: Fighting Sioux nickname out, 6.3 out of 10 based on 23 ratings





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37 Comments

  1. Robert LaCoeComment by Robert LaCoe
    June 13, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    We should honor our first residents, and owners of all this land. Fighting was a trait they had and taught us. We then taught the world warfare. I guess the libs would honor them if they had just said” take our land, animals, and fish we will not fight for what is ours. What BS they use to disparage our original inhabitants.

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    • catmanComment by catman
      June 13, 2012 @ 10:52 am

      “Fighting was a trait they had and taught us. We then taught the world warfare.”

      Wait a minute – the Indians taught the us (the white man) to fight, and then we taught the world to fight??

      Where were you in world history in high school… sleeping?… or are you one of the “Cup Cake Generationers” that never took world history.

      The world was fighting wars thousands of years before the Indians ever set foot on North American soil (about 14,000 years ago).

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    • christopolousComment by christopolous
      June 13, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

      Let’s just change the name to “The Hugging Sioux”, wouldn’t that appease the “natives” and make the PC crowd happy?

      And let us not forget the neighbor next door, let’s just change “The Vikings” to the “Swedish Chef”.

      What about the Cleveland Browns? Let’s honor them and just call them what they are, “The Cleveland Blacks”. That ought to make the blacks, colored peoples, negroes, or whatever the name du jour is, to be really excited.

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  2. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    June 13, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    does anybody in this country still have a spine?i will quit watching sports especially college,the ncaa is nothing more than a human pimp machine,they make zillons of dollars off of college men and women who compete in sports and get paid nothing except free school.ncaa is infested with liberal idealogs just like our universities.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      June 13, 2012 @ 10:47 am

      First the Liberals would remove the symbol of the fighting spirit of a once proud Sioux nation from the arena of sports competition, next they will blast the face of Crazy Horse from the Mountain side in South Dakota, Then blow the faces of our politically incorrect Presidents from the face of Mount Rushmore and carve the face of Obama in their stead. It is time we all go on the warpath united with the same objective to regain our country from this confused President before he blows up the whole country in political divsion and class warfare. Our bank accounts have all been scalped, can our persons be far behind?

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 1:50 am

      I agree whole heartedly..they have done more to ruin sports and sports participation in a healthy and honest manner than anyone or any other organization that I can think of….I am a Lakota Sioux..I find no offense in any of the titles like this, like Braves, like Warriors such as we have in Worland, WY. People need to quit trying to cause grief, make themselves known, bully around for power and let things be..for some reason we are suing happy in America, why; for some reason we are politically correct.. why..common sense was far better and far reaching and far more effective…what PC has done is divide this nation even further than it was with Roe vs. Wade..it is time we become a united nation for if we continue to be divided, we assuredly will fall victim to the progressives and communism…a little at a time..we are so very close now..

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  3. joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
    June 13, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    Liberals win again. If the nickname was the Simpering Sioux, that would be wrong but the nickname was just the opposite and Ms. Davidson, the enrolled member, is absolutely right.

    Liberals are ruining this country with their PC (Political C*ap.) Isn’t it bad enough that we have to put up with Obozo for another seven months?

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 1:54 am

      Well Obozo for another seven months and then the GOP obozo takes over..he agrees with all the Tyranny laws and EOs that Obozo has signed and this means the say so assassination law that is the newest EO from the Obozo..corporate welfare, bank bailouts and more..including the freedom killing Agenda 21 and including the declaration of America being an unilateral warzone as a result of the NDAA….and he has supported Obamacare while campaigning in Mass…PC only divides us further. Could we please exhume common sense and tell Obozo he can have his PC and stuff it where the sun does not shine.

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  4. 1kentComment by 1kent
    June 13, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Well Scott Neumann I think you should submit a new name.
    How about the “Storming Scrotums”?

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    • KathleenComment by Kathleen
      June 14, 2012 @ 11:10 am

      lol!

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  5. bbarrett49Comment by bbarrett49
    June 13, 2012 @ 10:28 am

    now they can replace the fighting soux with the pansy ***’

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 1:57 am

      Is that not kind of what all this is about..making pansies out of our youth in more than sports? Children can no longer play on the merry go round because they might skin an elbow..where are the parents; that is just one microchip of what our youth can no longer do..no Red Rover, Snap the Whip, etc.

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  6. Ollie_FanComment by Ollie_Fan
    June 13, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    They could rename them the “Drunken Casino Owners” but perhaps I’m just being a jerk. 5 stars for me being a jerk!

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      June 14, 2012 @ 10:05 am

      I suppose I should be embarrassed that you made me laugh.

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  7. jim123456Comment by jim123456
    June 13, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Sounds like ole scottie boy is an Obamabot Idiot and is a BIG baby who spouts his PC ****!

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  8. middlegroundComment by middleground
    June 13, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    Remove a name that is a tribute to the bravery of those Sioux warriors who fought, but lost the war and thus became another segment of American society. Absurd! The time has come to eliminate all those dictatorial edicts of the NCAA and Title IX that have forced colleges and universities to compete with no consideration as to cost. There is no reason why any university should have to compete in every sport against teams in the same conference or spend an equal amount of women’s sports. Some teams should compete locally and others nationally, but the ruling consideration should be cost and, unless Congress wants to pay for the Title IX costs, this too should go to the ash heap of “Rube Goldberg” bright ideas.

    Students worried about the cost of paying for a university education, should look no farther that Washington’s interference in education to find the cause. PC is expensive and its costs have been hidden by loans and grants to cover these costs, but now that the job market has collapsed they are a shock to everyone. Why? Good students have always gotten jobs and been able to pay off their loans, but apparently we’ve had a number who didn’t figure out in advance how long it would take to pay off a loan having a 6% interest compounded continually when they had a poorly paying job.

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    • nmleonComment by nmleon
      June 14, 2012 @ 11:45 am

      “There is no reason why any university should have to compete in every sport against teams in the same conference or spend an equal amount of women’s sports.”

      (Men’s) sports are a huge net money maker for universities, they participate eagerly. Women’s sports, though not generally very popular and usually money losers, are required by the government under Title IX.

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  9. FlaJimComment by FlaJim
    June 13, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    ND voters are a bunch of weenies.

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 2:00 am

      Been told most are progressives which is the new buzz word for Commies…

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    • 4bluestarsComment by 4bluestars
      June 14, 2012 @ 8:38 am

      I would not say that. I lived in Bismarck for six years and it is a moderately Blue State. George Bush won there both times and they even dragged John McCain kicking and screaming across the finish line. They just sent their 2-term Republican Governor, John Hoeven, to Washington to replace Byron Dorgan when he retired, and replaced long-time Congressman Earl Pomeroy with a Republican after he supported Obamacare. They fought this name change for a long time so this is puzzling at best.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      June 14, 2012 @ 10:07 am

      Maybe they are just tired of fighting and figure it’s a battle not worth fighting. Only half the Sioux in the state seem to care about fighting it or it wouldn’t even have been an issue.

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  10. newrepublicanComment by newrepublican
    June 13, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    Soon we will have erased all public indications that a race of peoples inhabited this land, of which the current inhabitants have honored. That is a shame. The liberal “protectors” will be to blame for this unintended consequence.

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 2:03 am

      It was either Bush, Sr. or Clinton that tried to do just that through legislation and pulling BIA funding..there was alot more to it than just the BIA funding..now that a few tribes and reservations have found a way to support their nation and their people, good ole government wants to tax and tax and tax…this was never to happen for what the immigrants did to us….perhaps it is payback time for those offspring of the immigrants to go through what we went through…

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 2:07 am

      Thing is, it is intended to do just that, a little at a time..a massacre of a sacred baby bison and its mom…but no investigation on the government’s part but on the part of the Tribes, there will be … and then the government will sue us for investigating it although we know pretty much who is responsible…a pale eyes…

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  11. nancyjComment by nancyj
    June 13, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    So. They caved. How very sad.

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  12. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    June 13, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    So, N. D. is ashamed of it’s Native American roots?

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  13. freedomforallComment by freedomforall
    June 13, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    Just when will our brothers and sisters learn that We name our teams out of respect for those that were brave and couragous. We honor those that fought. If it were not for sports teams honoring the brave of our historic past, many native tribes would be forgotten in history. I for one believe that we should continue to remember those that were so valiant. Next, the animal rights groups will think that we shold not name our teams after couragous animals… No more Bangels, Tigers, Bears, Lions. or more Mighty Ducks. Sheese

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    • BuzzComment by Buzz
      June 14, 2012 @ 2:11 am

      Thank you! For the record, we are not squaws and Squaw Valley needs renamed for it means “*****” in most Native American languages..that is the only reason there; we are not redskins..many of us are different shades of brown, some are light skinned and red haired with blue eyes; some of us have blonde to reddish hair while others have shades of brown into black..so please read about us and learn to respect us..we deserve it…like all cultures we have those that seem to drag us down…try a subscription to Indian Country..not much at all for a year..think $20…I was gifted for my birthday..what an enlightenment it is..

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    • catmanComment by catman
      June 14, 2012 @ 6:10 am

      “Thank you! For the record, we are not squaws and Squaw Valley needs renamed for it means “*****” in most Native American languages…”

      Not hardly… apparently that is not true.

      It seems that rumor came from an “Oprah” show (where we all know that truth is so important to her and her minions, and all truths comes from these days).

      http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2542/is-squaw-an-obscene-insult

      It makes sense, since it is not believable that so many separate tribes that are spread out across the country, would use the same word for anything.

      I find it offensive that “Illegal Indigenous Immigrants from the Bering straits arch” (Indians), would get sucked up in the stupid White Man’s petty PC movement. It has wrecked their society, why should we let it wreck ours?

      From an “Illegal Indigenous Immigrants from the Bering straits arch”… Cheyenne version.

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  14. lampoilComment by lampoil
    June 14, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    And the beat goes on…

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  15. jim123456Comment by jim123456
    June 14, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    We MUST vote all of these IDIOT OBAMABOTS OUT in Nov.. aka..Progressive… let’s call them what they really are COMMUNISTS! TRAITORS!

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  16. KathleenComment by Kathleen
    June 14, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    Of course the 59 year old teacher voted to stop using the name because it was “offensive”. You can’t FIND a teacher who wouldn’t say the same thing. yada yada yada, give me points for being so politically correct, even if I am on the wrong side of a debate.

    Native Americans have been admired forever. They were overrun, by the newest inhabitants of the New World, yes, as it always is when a new population takes over, but they were respected too. The pride. The courage. The tenacity. All these qualities have always been deeply appreciated by Americans. Native American names of towns, rivers, lakes, and many, many teams, are a salute to Native Americans. Nobody would name their team after an entity they did not respect, it means they wish to demonstrate the courage and pride of Native Americans. It interweaves respect for native culture within our entire society, and maintains a deep connection between groups. Not to mention many Americans have native blood, including the people for and against using Native American names and imagery.
    I feel badly for the people who want to keep the name and imagery. It must hurt alot to see it removed. People are so foolish sometimes. They’d rather have exclusive ownership of the icons than see them utilized and memorialized in a respectful way, that keeps the image constant in the public’s eye and memory. Foolish.

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    • catmanComment by catman
      June 14, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      Kathleen….

      That is a very well thought post.

      No team would ever think of naming themselves, “The Nazis”, or “The Gestapo SS”.

      When one culture concurs another, the typical pattern is to erase all remnants of the prior culture – we did not, because we respected the people that were here when we came.

      This whole thing is a shame on all of us – and it will drive us farther apart in the end.

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    • redskinprideComment by redskinpride
      June 14, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

      I concur,
      A well thought out post.
      I also live in the northeast and am very proud of my native American traditions and history.
      Two High Schools in Maine have in the last year lost their long used mascots.
      I know first hand that these mascots were chosen for the courage,pride and honor that they convey.
      I believe that any of the animal mascots don’t hold a candle to these traits that a Brave, Chief, Warrior or Redskin demand.
      There is no courage in being a dolphin.
      There isn’t any honor in being a Marlin
      And there is little pride in being a Red Storm
      Shame on those people responsible for degrading the Native American strength to presevere, by taking away the recognition and representation that these sports mascots were intended to give back.

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  17. KathleenComment by Kathleen
    June 14, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    Look, in New England, where I live, we have a long history of Native American and Settlers history. There was no doubt about how things were, it is well documented. Atrocities on both sides, and kindness and friendship on both sides. My great-grandfather (12 generations back) was best friends with the chief of our local tribe. They shared land, and yes, celebrations, often! But there are records of men being killed out in the field, tending their crops. Heads and hands severed and hung in trees as warnings to other settlers. Let’s not kid ourselves here, it was a battle for brave Native Americans resisting a takeover, and brave Settlers desperately trying to make it in a new land. This is how it is ALWAYS done. No population overcomes the current tenants by tea parties and scones. It is often a battle that must result in a victor. The Settlers were not the “evil white man” any more than the Native Americans were the “evil red man”. Friendships and cohabitation did happen, and so did evil deeds and murder. Let’s not pretend either one was a satan, or an angel. They all did what they felt they had to do.

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  18. jim123456Comment by jim123456
    June 14, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    The Shame of the country is ole barry the Divider Illegal Muslim pres who, along with his cronies is dividing the country so he and his Gestapo can take it over! Vote ALL Lib Dems and Rinos OUT in Nov and Purge the country of these Socialist/Commies!

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  19. bigjohn555Comment by bigjohn555
    July 14, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

    The concept of Political Correctness was first introduced to the world by Leon Trotsky. He said the Russians should only have politically correct thoughts, only those thoughts agreeing with Vladimir Lenin.
    Then came Chairman Mao and his Little Red Book.
    Followed by the American Left — Please don’t let these commies take over the USA.

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