Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Poll results: "Sioux" will become history

According to a recent poll conducted on this blog, most readers think the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo will eventually be retired.

When asked "Will UND end up retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo?", 79% (371) responded "yes" and just 19% (91) responded "no." (results)

I would really like to see some more discussion on this topic.

Yes 79%371
No 19%91
Unsure 2%10
472 votes total


Anonymous said...

This topic has come up frequently during the Joel Heitkamp show (AM 790) here in Fargo over the past few weeks with some very interesting (and thoroughly intellectual) conversations surrounding the Sioux nickname. There have also been some really incredible call-ins on both sides of the argument.

But, in my opinion, the name should be changed for one major reason.

1. The majority of people who support the continued use of the "Fighting Sioux" nickname are not members of the "Sioux" tribe.

In my opinion, this shows a general lack of respect for the minority of people who are members of the Sioux tribe - who do not want the continued use of their "tribal name" associated with sports teams. And furthermore, the name "Sioux" was an adaptation of the original name of the tribe (the tribe's original name was phonetically pronounced - inn-oh-wah-soo). The "Sioux" name was created by French fur traders as a type of slang name for the tribe, which descended from the Lakota indians. So if anything, the "Sioux" should be called "The Fighting Lakota", which isn't much better.

Ultimately, it's the use of the "nickname" that will be it's downfall.

If this were a situation such as the Florida Seminoles - where the tribe feels that their name is given great pride by an educational institution and also support the continued use of their tribal name, then the NCAA would back off and not have an issue because it's ultimately the tribes decision.

As for some of the call-ins during the Joel Heitkamp show - I've heard some incredibly uninformed and ignorant callers making claims that are so far out of the realm of realism that it's almost funny...mostly that the history of the school makes alumni 'entitled' to make the decision - and totally disregarding an entire group of people whose heritage was destroyed by the first white settlers of this country - Scandinavian and German immigrants during the expansion of America - primarily the northern Midwest (Lakota + Hidatsa - Mandan - Arikara Nations).

And before you pass judgement on me for making this comment, you should know that I am as much of a Sioux fan as anyone in the history of the school. I grew up next to the old Ralph Engelstad Arena, and the campus was my playground. One of my greatest idols (for a long time) was Tony Hrkac followed by Justin Duberman followed by Jason Herter (who actually showed my friend and I the reason why he was considered to have the strongest slapshot in Sioux history - with us in the official's booth behind the goalie during summer practices). I have fantastic memories of watching Geno Gasparini lead his team through late summer practices in the old REA.

The Sioux name is in my heart as much (or even more) than any person surrounding this whole controversy - but the fact is that the use of the nickname is not supported by the Sioux tribe, and therefore (out of ultimate respect) should not be used anymore.

I wish the tribe would concede as much as anyone else, because of the heritage and the incredible show of sportsmanship over the years, but this is really a dead issue that needs to be buried and pushed forward.

jd said...

anonymous. you should word your reason a bit better. "1. The majority of people who support the continued use of the "Fighting Sioux" nickname are not members of the "Sioux" tribe." This is not a good reason to change a name. You make a good argument in your following paragraphs, but the summary is bad. It is like making the "Fighting Irish" change their name because the majority of the people are not Irish.
Like I said, you make excellent points in your paragraphs, just change the major reason sentence.

Liz said...

I'm really tired of the sad old comparison between "Fighting Sioux" and "Fighting Irish." The last time I checked, the Irish people weren't offended when people called them Irish. The name "Sioux" is a name forced upon the Lakota people by white men, and many find it offensive. The same cannot be said for "Irish," so the comparison doesn't make sense.

I got my undergrad at UND, and I've been holding off on making my alumni donations until they change the name. I'm also planning to attend law school there--but only once the name has changed. I've made this quite clear in letters to UND's administration (and particularly to the Alumni Center, which has now removed my name from their mailing lists--at my request--until the name changes). I'm sure there are plenty of alumni who feel the same way I do. After the blatant and horrific racism I saw on campus when I was a student there several years ago, I can't even fathom why anyone would ever support the name.

dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


I find it hard to believe anyone is telling the truth when they say they are putting off going to law school until the name is changed. I am Irish and am not offended by the name. I did not have anything to say about the use of the name. I just have better things to do than crusade about a name.

Orator said...

In the end, everyone will have to make a decision: do you support UND or do you support the Fighting Sioux? Personally, I support UND, and will root for their teams - whatever they may be called.

I married into the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe, so I have a foot in both boats. I've listened to the arguments on both sides of the issue, and there's an incredible amount of misinformation out there. I do not believe either side is too interested in learning the attitudes of the other side. Too many Sioux have never left the reservation, and too many UND fans have never ventured past the casino. For that reason, the nickname should go away. But keep the Ralph the way it is ... as a testament to generations of people too stuck on themselves to realize the opportunity they had.

jd said...

Apparently you did not read my post. I was explaining about how his major reason should be changed to further reflect his following paragraphs, that is all. I in no way was comparing the Sioux to the Irish. Read it again, and if you can come up with a good argument about what I wrote, please reply. But if all you are going to do is skim the text, don't bother.

GrandForksGuy said...

Lots of great discussion going on here, everyone. I'm happy to see thoughtful debate making a comeback on GFL!

"After the blatant and horrific racism I saw on campus when I was a student there several years ago, I can't even fathom why anyone would ever support the name."

I'm sorry, but that statement is just so wrong. I only recently graduated from UND after having attended for a number of years. My education included classes in a number of academic departments and I participated in many activities. I met a wide variety of people during my time at UND and - for what it's worth - I became friends with several Native American students. To claim that there is any widespread "blatant and horrific racism" at UND is not only a mischaracterization - it is so very, very wrong. In actuality, I saw diversity respected and celebrated. Obviously there is going to be an insensitive or even racist individual or group of individuals in any sizeable population, but to claim that there is widespread "horrific racism" at my alma mater is simply not true.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Grand Forks guy, that racism is not that prevalent. I do find it interesting that St. Cloud State has the largest group of protesters when UND hockey plays in St. Cloud, and they are also called the Huskies, but they are dealing with more prevelant racism now than UND is. I'm referring to the numerous swastikas, etc. that have popped up on campus there.

C. Y. said...

The majority of people who support changing the "Fighting Sioux" nickname are not members of the "Sioux" tribe either.

So much for that theory holding any water ! ! !

Anonymous said...

There is a simple solution to this, if UND must give up the name, then the colleges should stop providing tuition waivers to the natives when attending any school in North Dakota.