A Wah-Hoo-Wah for North Dakotans

If there was a lawsuit involved, we could’ve made the pun on “sue.”As of Wednesday, the University of North Dakota has resumed using the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo after supporters filed petitions seeking a statewide vote to settle the conflict. 
UND meant to retire the mascot to comply with the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2005 policy that barred Indian masccots without approval from namesake groups. Thanks to this loophole, a few schools, like Florida State, were able to retain their mascot. Others, like the University of Illinois, were forced to retire theirs. 
Unfortunately for UND, the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe voted overwhelmingly to approve of the mascot, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe never held a vote on the matter. Though the university prepared to shift away from using the nickname, the North Dakota legislature passed a law in early 2011 requiring the school to keep the mascot. 
The legislature repealed the law due to the possibility of NCAA sanctions, but the petition forced the university’s hand. The school has resumed use of both the nickname and the logo. 

It remains to be seen where and how this controversy will end. The NCAA is unlikely to back down, it’s simply something that organization doesn’t do. I saw them take on McMurry University in my hometown of Abilene, Texas, despite the school’s proud history of working to promote education about Native Americans amongst local schoolchildren with its famous Tipi Village

People may remember that UND and Dartmouth shared in some controversy back in 2006 when Athletic Director Josie Harper embarrassed our fine institution by publicly apologizing in The Dartmouth for scheduling a hockey tournament that included the Fighting Sioux. In a letter to the editor, Harper characterized UND’s position on the Fighting Sioux mascot as “offensive and wrong,” thereby directly insulting a school that had been invited to campus.

–Sterling C. Beard