Wednesday, October 31, 2007

UND/NCAA settlement

I haven't blogged about the UND/NCAA settlement yet. I know that the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo brings out very, very strong opinions on both sides of the debate. I wonder how you, the readers of GFL, are responding to this settlement?

Here's a brief synopsis of what the settlement outlines. UND will have three years to gain acceptance among the state's Sioux tribes for the continued use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. If, at the end of those three years, that acceptance has not come through, UND will retire its current nickname and logo and a new one will be chosen.

Do you think UND will be able to convince the state's Sioux tribes that the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo are neither hostile nor abusive? How do you think the tribes should fairly decide whether or not to accept the logo? What do you think about each tribe allowing each enrolled member to vote on the issue? If the current logo and nickname are retired, what do you think the UND athletic teams should be called? Would a new nickname and logo decrease or increase your level of interest and/or support for the UND teams?

I haven't personally discussed the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo on this blog to a great degree. I have made it clear that I am a supporter of the nickname and logo and that I do not find them hostile or abusive, but I have not exaggerated on my opinions.

My thoughts on the Fighting Sioux have evolved over the years. When I first went to UND, I was a supporter of the name and logo. Then, the proselytizing of one too many enlightened professors briefly convinced me that the name was bad and had to go. Now, I am back to being a strong believer that there is nothing inherently wrong with the nickname and logo and that it is used respectfully and should only serve to bring pride to the state's native people.

However, even though I remain a supporter of the Fighting Sioux, I have been growing weary of the fight as of late. UND does so many good things for so many people...notably for the state's native people...but the Fighting Sioux debate has become an undeserved burden for us. I believe that there is nothing wrong with the nickname and logo, but the fact that this debate has raged on for so long has given UND a black eye that distracts from all the good that the state's oldest and largest educational institution does. I will always be a supporter of the Fighting Sioux, but this debate must come to a conclusion soon. The finality of this settlement should ultimately put an end to this debate. UND encompasses so many things for so many people...we will be no less of a university if we must ultimately change our athletic nickname and put an end to the undeserved negativity that has been hurled at our campus.


Zaya said...

Purely speculation, but I wonder if there would be a problem if UND was just the Sioux, vs the Fighting Sioux

Katie said...

I agree with GFG. I don't think that the name is hostile or abusive. I think that UND has a great tradition of honoring the Native American community. UND shouldn't just be remembered for whether or not they keep this nickname. There are a lot of great things going on there that are being set on the backburner, because there is so much energy into defending or supporting the nickname.

ec99 said...

If I were a UND professor teaching a course in critical thinking, I'd spend most of the semester discussing the nickname debate. It has been so full of logical fallacies that it should be held up as a model on how not to argue:
incendiary language, straw men, ad hominems, "pity us," "experts say," the majority agrees with me, etc. This goes for both sides.

Elucidarian said...

Both sides have their good points; that's why it's dragged on so long. As a white person removed from the experience of my cultural identity being borrowed for another predominant culture's devices, I can't claim to truly understand. However, I attempt to see it as offensive, for the sake of friends and colleagues, some Native American, who oppose the name and logo. I realized it's important to continue asking questions. What if you're Sioux and don't care for sports? What if you're Sioux and a Bison fan? What if the name was "honoring" some other ethnic group?

Other possible athletic team names: The Negroes, the Chinamen, the Jews, the Klan. Sounds ludicrous, but there are places where, demographically and historically speaking, these could be just as viable as Sioux. Ultimately, whose right is it to co-opt another living people's identity against their will? To be fair, where do we draw the line to determine how many people have to be offended for it to matter?

Accordingly, if there is a division of opinion among Sioux people on the name, why has no one tried to get real numbers? If the name belongs to them, why not let democracy rule and hold a vote?

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who say the settlement is no settlement. Imagine, after $1 million in attorney fees this is what they come up with. What does it accomplish. The tribes say they are not going to change their stance and even if they do new leadership a year later could change it again. Then the next year it could change again. Then the next year...
In the end I have joined with those who say let's drop the name and move on. We (UND)are so much more than this.
Those who were the first ones on the plains probably deserve some special programs, but they need to prove up just as the European pioneers did, and they need to realize that all the educated can not return to the rez because there aren't enoough jobs just as all the whites can not stay in ND.

dale said...

As noted, the only way to end the argument is to change the name. Period. You can pay whatever you want to the two necessary voting tribes, and then they can turn around and rescind their support anyway. So that's no solution at all.

Although I think it's ultimately a disservice to the Sioux nation, UND needs to drop the name, come up with something else, and move on. You'll see Fighting Sioux shirts and support for many, many years, regardless of what the new name is, but it really needs to be moved off of the school's agenda and budget.

Take down the stuff at the Ralph that honours the Sioux (like the big statue out front,) stop playing the tribute video at the beginning of games, and let's move past it.

Just don't let the new name be "Force of the North," please.

vcsuvike said...

I think the same way as others, change the name and move on. I've always thought UND could use "Sundogs." It's something unique and geographically tied.

Anonymous said...

Call me apathetic. Just sick and tired of hearing about the debate. Both sides present the same argument OVER and OVER.

Lynsey said...

Dyke Spurra, a UND student from Germany, wrote a really good column for Tuesday's issue of the Dakota Student that parallels the Sioux nickname and logo to that of a fictional soccer club named the Fighting Jews in Germany. It's really worth a peak if you have a chance to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I think the sooner UND can get rid of the nickname, the sooner we can put all this controversy behind us.

Eventually, the NCAA will stop the Sioux from using the logo or nickname one way or another - even if a settlement is reached. The Gophers (and other schools, wisely) have taken a stance against the nickname (which I believe is because they don't want to play the Sioux in any sports post-season).

I also think it's interesting to hear the argument that the "Fighting Irish" can be seen as offensive to people of Irish descent. It's totally irrational to use that as a legitmate argument point when the difference between the two is a racial/ethnic, and when the sports teams representing the Fighting Sioux nickname are predominantly caucasian...which I see as being an issue of geography (lots of caucasian people live in North Dakota - fact).

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard Irish people say the Fighting Irish name and logo are offensive, except with sarcasm. Just wondering how many Black Notre Dame players hail from Ireland. How's that for irrational?

Liz said...

I've personally witnessed racism related to the nickname--on campus. It was pretty disturbing to walk across campus with a Native American friend and witness her being told, "go home, prairie ni**er!" in front of my eyes. That was enough to change my mind on the issue, let alone the incredibly disrespectful displays and co-opting of another culture that goes on at sports games.

The "but Fighting Irish isn't offensive!" argument is so tired. Sioux is a name the white man gave to Native American tribes in this area--it's not something native to the culture of the tribes.

Really, the arguments are old and tired here. It's clear that the name offends a lot of people in this area and across the country. It's time to recognize that and adopt a neutral name that doesn't illicit anger, resentment, and racist behavior.

Anonymous said...

So, if the name goes away, so will the racial slurs of the pinheads of the world? I think not.

What are the incredibly disrespectful displays that go on at sporting events?

I don't understand your comment about the Sioux name not being native to their culture. Are you saying the Native Americans don't use that name? What about Sioux Manufacturing in Fort Totten? How about the Dakota Sioux Casino?

The arguments that are old and tired mostly come from the change the nickname crowd. Insofar as offending a lot of people in the area and across the country, the "offended" are in the minority of the people surveyed. Even among the Native American people across the country the majority have no problem with the nickname.

Unfortunately, it looks as though the name will be changed and the PC crowd will win. Will that change any of the social problems that the Native Americans face in today's society? Will racism suddenly be swept away? No. The nickname is just something to point at and scream "that's the problem". In fact, the problems have nothing to do with the name. They are far deeper.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the cause and effect of the nickname and racial slurs. Hatred aimed at any minority is despicable, but imagine a Sioux Nation that allows UND to use the nickname and then imagine a gracious student body who begins to embrace Native American culture as its own. It's not a pipe dream.

river man said...

Both sides have valid points. A previous blogger stated the issued is deeper than the nickname and logo. I agree, most of the regions rez's face problematic poverty and crime just to name a couple issues. But then theres a bigger problem both whites and natives share which is racism. Whites and Natives need to come together to help understand each other and to build bridges and friendships. And not just between Whites and Natives, but also with other ethnic groups such blacks, hispanics, Arabs, Jews, Asian Americans, and true Indians as from India. Will the white and Native relationship in the prarie region improve if we keep the nickname/logo or will it be better if we change it? Regardless what happens, Native history and culture will always be part of UND and this state, after all this state is named after a regional tribal group, the Dakotas.

C. Y. said...

When the nickname is changed and someone thinks they are discriminated against what are they going to blame it on?

Because if the "anti nickname" folks are to be believed it is the main cause of discrimination on campus.

Has anyone asked the "anti" folks what they suggest would be a better nickname? or are they too "anti" to share a positive thought?

river man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
river man said...

I for one want to build friendships with the Native people, and learn and understand them more from their perspective. If there is any racism in me, I want to remove it from my being. If the logo and nickname stays, I hope UND and this state takes the opportunity to listen with an open mind and seek to understand the Native peoples of the Dakotas and Minnesota instead of trying to get the Natives to listen and understand us. Many schools and tribes have taken this approach and in the end the schools kept their nicknames

river man said...

P.S. See the Herald's article- UND nickname: Working together. Good article on how other schools did it and how they engaged in friendly conversation with Natives.

naturalplastics said...

I am not hostile or offensive. In fact, when I was a Sioux athlete, I wore my uniform proudly.

I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's a sports logo. Our sports logo is the Sioux. Get over it.

Remember like 5 years ago when PETA got on the 'gamecocks' case because cock fighting is cruel?

What are we supposed to do? People can say they're offended by anything. The Flordia state hurricanes probably offend people who's families got killed in new orleans. If the many buckle to the demands of the few, we'll be left with ridiculous team names like the 'maroon and silver'(remember that?) or the green wave.

Anonymous said...

I personally, along with many others, am sick of this argument. I love the Sioux nickname, and I am proud when I cheer for the Fighting Sioux. I have stood up to people in other towns that say "Fighting Sioux suck", but let's quit this ongoing never ending fight. BUT let's go all the way politically correct. Let's drop "Dakota" because that is a Native American word (we'll offcially be just called North). Let's change the name on over 1/2 of the towns on ND that have a native american name to something that isn't offensive to anyone or thing. Let's change EVERY state highway sign and state vehicle that has an Idian head logo on it. Then when ALL is said and done, let's not allow any citizen from any other state that has a Native American word or phrase for a state name or town name. See? It will ALWAYS be a debate and vicious cycle, if not with Native Americans, then it will be with some other ethnic backround. There will NEVER be a time when everyone is content.

Matthew said...

I think the previous anonymous has missed the point--it's not that non-nativs shouldn't be using native words for their towns, it's that having a group of people as a mascot is a silly thing. It's like if we followed the political leanings of most of the state and called the team "The Fighting George Bushes"--it makes no sense.

I'll admit again that I'm on the fence as to what should or should not be done, and I wish that was a socially acceptable answer for everyone else, but unfortunately anyone who questions the nickname gets lumped into the "anti" crowd immediately.

As for the alternative names that c.y. wants, you can check out the "A United UND" message board at Campus Dakota, or the group on Facebook (yes, we all know that Facebook doesn't mean anything in the real world, but college students talking about college issues? Who would've thunk it?).

Look, we all know that fighting over the nickname is something that we white people do just so we can be entertained by hurling insults at the other side and feel like we actually mean anything in the grand scheme of things. The winters are long here. However, I might go so far as to suggest that the name issue truly belongs to the students, and should be discussed and voted on by the student body regardless of anything else. It may not result in a name change today, or next year, but I'm pretty sure it will eventually.

Anonymous said...

I was just discussing this very matter with my father the other night and I really liked his idea.....His idea is to change the name of the fighting sioux to the brave....Here is the reasoning behind it:
First of all it is a non descript term that would not particularly offend a certain tribe, you could continue to use the same logo, and best of all all of the hockey fans would use the right words for the national anthem!!!! I know that it is tradition to yell Sioux, but it really is disrespectful,especially to all of the veterans in the audience. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to share it with all of you!

P.S We also discussed using "the Force" since they are pushing it so hard with all of their marketing, but the Bison are also using something related to the force.

C. Y. said...

Matthew said:
"Look, we all know that fighting over the nickname is something that we white people do just so we can be entertained by hurling insults at the other side and feel like we actually mean anything in the grand scheme of things. . . . . .

You could take your statement and turn it around to fit the other side exactly. The anti-nickname folks actually have a name for Indian nickname supporters:

"Apple" Red on the outside and White on the inside.

I guess "racism" is everywhere!

(the "apple" was thrown quite often on the old KCNN web board - not that I miss it because it got pretty nasty sometimes)

C. Y. said...

and your links require registration

Matthew said...

"Look, we all know that fighting over the nickname is something that we white people do just so we can be entertained by hurling insults at the other side and feel like we actually mean anything in the grand scheme of things . . . "

You could take your statement and turn it around to fit the other side exactly. The anti-nickname folks actually have a name for Indian nickname supporters.

Dude, I was talking about both sides. Pay attention!

Here's your link for the Campus Dakota 'A United UND' board. It got shuffled around a while back and was mistakenly restricted to guests.


C. Y. said...

No need to get snippy about it with your "Pay attention!" remark.

Anonymous said...

Does UND have special programs for Native Americans, that other universities don't have?

C.Y. said...

ED460800 - American Indian Programs at the University of North Dakota.

This report describes 16 programs available to American Indian students at the University of North Dakota (UND). UND's Office of Native American Programs is a state-funded program of the University's Division of Student and Outreach Services. The major function of the Office is to provide support services to Indian students in the areas of financial aid, admissions, housing, and academics along with personal, social, and cultural advisement. Programs described include: (1) North Dakota University System Cultural Diversity Tuition Waiver; (2) Department of Indian Studies; (3) Indians into Medicine (INMED); (4) Recruitment/Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN); (5) Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program; (6) TRIO Programs; (7) the Ah'jo'gun Program; (8) Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant; (9) Indians into Journalism Initiative (IIJI); (10) Indians into Psychology (InPsyde); (11) American Indian Center; (12) UND Indian Association; (13) INMED Student Organization; (14) American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Chapter; (15) Native American Law Students Association; and (16) UND Native American Centennial Scholarship Endowment. Approximately 300 American Indian students attend UND, representing approximately 30 different American Indian tribes. (CDS)

(I'm waiting to see what the Casinos fund in the way of programs at any university.)

ec99 said...

Yeah, yeah. Now what percentage of these programs is federally funded?

Anonymous said...

WOW that is alot of different programs, that i would think are costing alot of money. I think that these programs are in place to make the Native Americans associated with the "Fighting" like it and not oppose it. I would like to see UND drop each program that is not needed if the "Fighting" is lost. Then lets see people get mad, or if their casino comes into town i hope GF gets a huge portion of the income and also UND gets to keep the "Fighting". I had a buddy of mine tell me that the only difference between UND & NDSU (he went to both places) is that "NDSU doesn't have any Indians".

Matthew said...

I'm trying to find something more recent--1998 was a while ago.

Campus Dakota - Representing the students, not the universities.

C. Y. said...

Try this page:

Indian Related Programs

AISS Academic Advisement Program

AISS Comprehensve Recruitment Program

AISS Leadership Luncheon Series

AISS Learning Lab

AISS Living and Learning Community

AISS New Student Orientation Program

AISS Retention Program

AISS Soup on Friday

AISS Tribal High School Days

AISS Tutor Program

American Indian Program Council

Dakota Geriatric Center

IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research (INBRE)

Indians Into Engineering

Indians Into Geologial Sciences (INGEOS)

Indians Into Medicine (INMED)

Indians Into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE)

Department of Indian Studies

Multicultural Scholars Into Dietetics Program (MSDP)

National Resource Center on American Indian Aging

Native Media Center

ND Family to Family Network

North Dakota Bridges to Baccalaureate Program

Northern Plains Indian Law Center (NPILC)

*Native American Law Project

*Northern Plain Tribal Judicial Training Institute

*Tribal Environmental Law Project

*Tribal Gaming Law Policy

Recruitment & Retention of American Indians Into Nursing (RAIN)

TRIO Programs
Student Support Services
Talent Search
Upward Bound
Education Opportunity Center (EOC)
Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaurate Achievement Program

United Tribes Principal Leadership for American Indians in

Native Schools (UT-PLAINS)

United Tribes Special Education Program (UT-SEP)

University Learning Center Tutoring Program

UND Physican Assistant Program (UND-PA)

Working Towards Indian Nursing Development (WIND)

American Indian Publications at UND

AISS Alumni Newsletter

AISS Newsletter

Rain Rythms (soon to be online)

Red Nation News

Serpent, Staff & Drum

Aging Visions

Native Directions

UND TRIO Alumni Newsletter

Student Organizations

American Indian Science and Engineering Society Student Chapter (AISES)

Building Roads into Diverse Groups Empowering Students (BRIDGES)

Native American Law Student Association (NALSA)

Native American Business Leader (AIBL)

Native Americans Into Criminal Justice (NACJA)

University of North Dakota Indian Association (UNDIA)

©2004 University of North Dakota.

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