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american indian
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north dakota
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Date
February 15, 2012

UND and the Fighting Sioux

The debate over a school mascot continues.
Transcript

Shelby: The University of North Dakota’s mascot and team nickname has been controversial for decades. And now, the fight over the “fighting Sioux” is going to court.

Back in 2005, the NCAA asked nineteen schools, including UND, to stop using team names considered abusive to American Indians, that included the name “fighting Sioux” and the logo: this profile of an American Indian warrior. At first, UND didn’t replace their mascot.

“I mean, it’s tradition here. And I’m one to follow tradition.”

Shelby: In 2009, the University of North Dakota was the last school to agree to retire the nickname. They promised to make the change by fall of 2011. The school introduced a new logo and began transitioning from the Sioux crew to “Nodak Nation,” short for North Dakota. But last March, Sioux mascot supporters got a law passed requiring the university to keep the “fighting Sioux.”

Then just eight months later, the state legislature voted to repeal that law. That wasn’t the end of the story for the fighting Sioux. Mascot supporters collected enough signatures on petitions to force the state to put the nickname up for a vote by the people of North Dakota. In the meantime, the law requiring the use of the Sioux icon is still in effect.

But this week, the state’s Board of Higher Education filed a lawsuit arguing the law is unconstitutional. And as expected, the NCAA has begun punishing the university for using the nickname. UND won’t be allowed to host any championship events, and athletes can’t wear their regular uniforms in post-season games until the issue is resolved.

Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.

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