Sioux 'em! North Dakota gives up on its mascot

With unemployment around 9.7 percent, competition is fierce in the job market, and people want to know where the jobs are. If you’re a graphic designer looking for work, Grand Forks, ND, might have some opportunities.

Earlier this month, the North Dakota Legislative Council received a cost estimate from University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley showing that retiring the school teams' Fighting Sioux nickname and logo to comply with the NCAA’s Native American mascot policy (and a court-imposed settlement) will cost approximately $750,000. About $575,000 of that will go to developing a new moniker and logo for the school.

Total costs of changing UND’s mascot from the Fighting Sioux to the Brute Buffalos or the Running Nokotas (not bad— it’s North Dakota’s state horse) could tally $20 million if the school is forced to make physical changes to the Ralph Engelstad Arena. State representative Mike Schatz, who requested the cost estimate, ardently opposes that move. In an open letter, Schatz wrote, “Does an organization funded by public money have the right to tell a state what it can call its athletic teams? If it does, then we no longer live in a free society.”

Schatz’s constituents and colleagues agree. In March, the legislature approved a bill ordering UND to retain its controversial nickname and logo, even though the University was already in the process of retiring them. Approximately 1,700 of the 1,800 emails one legislator received supported a bill that compelled the ND Attorney General to consider filing a lawsuit against the NCAA if it threatened sanctions.

Perhaps it was the NCAA’s firm stance or repeated Supreme Court rulings (as late as January 2011) that “Even though the NCAA deals with, accepts dues from, and imposes rules on public universities, it remains a private— not public— organization” (The Plains Daily) or that schools threatened to keep UND off their schedules, and the Big Sky Conference told North Dakota that its future conference affiliation could be jeopardized. Whatever: in August, Governor Jack Dalrymple said he would introduce legislation November 7 authorizing UND to change the nickname, repealing the March law.

Schatz says he won’t vote for the repeal. Why should he? According to the 2000 Census, only 169 of Schatz’s constituents are Native American.

North Dakota is home to five reservations and the country’s 12th largest Native population, yet at the same session they passed the Fighting Sioux bill, lawmakers voted down and eliminated Native language revitalization programs, the state Indian education director position, and state consultation with tribes (SB2239, SB2130 and SB2353). These moves were made despite the facts that the per capita income of American Indians on reservations is half the American average, that more than 46 percent of North Dakota’s Native children live in poverty, and that the current graduation rate at reservation schools is around 50 percent (The Children’s Defense Fund).

October 7 was First Nations Day in North Dakota, and the state issued a proclamation: “62nd North Dakota Legislative Assembly affirmed the work of the North Dakota Tribal and State Relations Committee … and North Dakotans are encouraged to commemorate the long-standing, cooperative relationships formed among tribal nations and the State of North Dakota.”

Given the recent legislation, the First Nations Day proclamation may no more than empty words. However, UND appears ready to retire the mascot the NCAA deemed “hostile and abusive.” And when that happens, $20 million will be up for grabs in Grand Forks. If you apply for a job, pack a heavy coat.
Juanita lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son, and many dogs.

Read more on: Native Americans


And remember, in Charlottesville, we have eliminated the term "black" from all communications:
1. The hip-hop group is now the "Eyed Peas of Color."
2. The Friday after Tgiving is called "Friday of Color."
3. Knight Rider's car is a "car of color."

And we are eliminating the sabers from the UVa logo because it is a weapon of violence.

Now, I am off to Luxembourg at your expense, as the City government of Charlottesville just voted it a "sister principality."

You know, I read this and think 'how typical for this day and age'. A perfectly good and unique mascot has to be changed because some liberal, probably white, bureaucrat thinks he/she is saving the world, or least saving us from having to feel ashamed of ourselves. Now, to be clear- I have no actual political leanings, not really. I don't agree with either democrats or republicans most of the time- but I know a jerk when I see one. And it seems like there are more jerks on the left if I had to compare. These are people who claim to care so much about the poor, minorities and the 'defenseless'. As many have pointed out, its usually an attempt to gain more support/power, often times nothing more. Oh sure, a few of them might genuinely care but for most beneath that thin veneer of philanthropic verbiage you'll find that they care about themselves and their philosophy first and foremost. Maybe they can trade in the Sioux warrior for the occupy wall street protestor who wants to kill bankers- what a model citizen.

Did it ever occur to anyone in the upper realms of ND's political stratosphere that having a Sioux warrior as a mascot serves as a tribute to those people? Oh, let me guess- after reading that you just felt guilty about how those evil Europeans came to the new world and conquered them and their lands, is that it? Really? And did you know that native American tribes fought and killed each other all the time in order to grow and prosper? Not so different then those evil, horrible people who, by the way, are the reason your reading this, especially if your a white person. This self-inflicted albatross around your neck about the past is enough to make me want to throw-up, literally. Let me tell you something Mr. Liberal Do-gooder, if the native Americans could have sailed across Europe with big boats, weapons and armor to conquer other lands, they would have. If they have the knowledge and means rest assured, they would have. So go ahead, change the mascot- what your really doing is continuing the tradition of the people who came here and conquered the natives of this land. In many ways, you're finishing the job. Hm, many I'm off-track, maybe it is a white republican at the helm here. Now isn't that a provocative theory?

@ Tommy Parker

I actually agree with most of your points. But remember, two wrongs don't make a right. And, comparing what the natives did to each other, compared to what the Europeans did to them is not a comparable analogy. The Europeans took things to a *whole* other level. It's like if you have two kindergarteners fighting on a playground, then along comes this 6'5" jacked up 35 year old beefcake who picks both them up and violently slams them together, then proceeds to annhilate everybody else on the playground regardless of whether they were involved, and knowing they can't defend themselves in terms of strength, weapons and numbers of people. And then, for any little kids that are leftover on the playground after the massacre takes place, they get to have a free "smallpox blanket" for their troubles. Then making sure to clear out any other playgrounds in the vicinity in the same manner.

Yeah, not exactly comparable. I always find it interesting when angry ranters don't seem to get that.

But other than that, I agree about the level of political correctness we have going on nowadays.

Given North Dakota's blatant failure to respect the law or the spirit of the law in placing hundreds of native American children in foster care, in non-native households while native foster care homes languish without care, one would think they would attempt to respect the letter of the law as much as possible. Seems like a pretty entrenched failure to move forward to me.

Darn insensitive Notre Dame.

Having just read through the Ap World History curriculum to help my daughter clarify some questions she had, I must respond. Clearly, greater accomplishments take place in a culture when there is peace, and throughout history that peace has been won by uniting disparate peoples under one rule. The societies which have been the most successful, in the long term, are those who have embraced and respected the myriad of differences within the mix. Our nation did not start out by treating Indian tribal members or other minority groups with that degree of value, nor women for that matter. We have grown, and we can stand to grow some more.

The "empires" if you will, that have had shorter life-spans are those who do not manage to create bridges between races/ethnicities/religions... etc. I think North Dakota has some unique challenges, and not all of them are being met well. It sickens me a lot to think of the incredible waste of money on changing something that is not critical to any of the physical needs that are present in North Dakota at the time, especially when the North Dakota could use that money to build bridges that help those citizens transition out of poverty.

These are complex issues, and they cannot be solved simply or quickly... I don't disagree with the issue that Native American Indians have with such institutional names, but I do disagree with the devotion of money during such lean years to make changes that are not critical. I realize that "branding" cannot be changed by a trickle down process over time. You cannot change all the consumption goods like year books and letterheads and clothing one year, and still leave up all the signage, but the timing sucks when the money is needed so terribly, elsewhere. Perhaps a plan can be registered in capital improvements for when there is a certain goal met in school funding?

I just need to correct something- it wasn't supposed to be say the "upper realms of ND's political..." that was a typo. It should have read the upper realms of the NCAA's political , or the political correctness of the 21st century, if you will.

Kristen, like so many, you're incorrectly trying to apply a modern viewpoint to a time that existed many years ago. Life was brutal ad people suffered much worse than what we consider suffering these days. I realize that it be may 'noble' and without a doubt fashionable to espouse this point of view, but it is flawed from the point of inception. People largely didn't care about the things back then that you and I care about now. They didn't have a two-car garage and a stockpile of food in their pantry. Think about that. Two wrongs don't make a right? What are you talking about? The fact is people explored, surveyed and either conquered or chose to live in harmony with the neighboring people,often because the other group was equal in strength. The native Americans weren't as strong and so they lost. End of story. Now, not honoring treaties could be an argument but the story you don't hear is that the native Americans continue to oppose the new America. Justified? Maybe, but you don't see people in the south trying to replace the stars and stripes with he confederate flag, do you? Neither you or I or anyone can or should want to change what took place. It happened, so try to deal with it. If you have a guilty conscious, get a counselor and work through it- but don't, like so many people in this country, try to push your beliefs on me. Te NCAA are obviously doing that to ND, they aren't respecting anyone, just doing what they believe is noble and in-stlye.

@ Tommy Parker

You sound like you're coming completely emotionally unhinged over there, Tommy. Possibly it's yourself that could benefit from counseling, more so than us?

"Two wrongs don't make a right? What are you talking about?"
Two wrong don't make a right means, just because somebody else did something bad, doesn't mean others should as well. And the reason I said this was because: You put forth the argument that "And did you know that native American tribes fought and killed each other all the time in order to grow and prosper? Not so different then those evil, horrible people who, by the way, are the reason your reading this, especially if your a white person."

So what you were saying then is, because the Natives engaged in warfare therefore it's okay that the Europeans came over and did the same to them. (and then some, as I mentioned. The Europeans took things to a *whole* other level.)

But, that seems to have gone over your head. Hope this explanation for the slow people at the back of the class will suffice. ;)

"The native Americans weren't as strong and so they lost. End of story."

What's interesting is your dog-eat-dog, psycophatic mindset about it all. Like I said before....two wrongs don't make a right.

"the story you don't hear is that the native Americans continue to oppose the new America."
Not sure what planet you live on, but the in the one I live on I *do* in fact hear about this. I've watched with interest the movement headed by Russell Means of the Lakota Nation to separate from the United States and to take back the Sioux lands. All people have to do is get on "that there fandangled internets!" to find out about it.

"But you don't see people in the south trying to replace the stars and stripes with he confederate flag, do you?"
Um, again, not sure what planet you live on but there's a nice little chunk of the southern population that would probably be more than happy to replace the stars and stripes with the Confederate flag, and it's the reason it's still flown by many people today. If ever you want an example of people "not letting it go" then the Confederate flag would be it. Interesting that you chose that example of all things. You ust set yourself up. Baaaad example, buddy.

"Neither you or I or anyone can or should want to change what took place."

Really? I "shouldn't want to change what took place"? And it's in your place to determine that for other people.......why, exactly? A bit presumptuous, wouldn't you say? If somebody looks at a past historical event and feels sorrow for how awry things went, and wishes it could have been different, that's their business. Not yours.

"but don't, like so many people in this country, try to push your beliefs on me."
I know, the pesky details of how things really are/were might interfere with your fragile house of cards you got going on over there. ;D "DON'T! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!!! MY HOUSE OF CARDS MIGHT TOPPLE OVER!!!! LALALALALA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!" ;D

Anyway, there you are coming completely emotionally and mentally unhinged, and for what I wonder? Sounds like you're the one needing the counselor Tommy, not us.


Typo correction.....

Or rather, psychopathic?? :D haha...

"Maybe, but you don't see people in the south trying to replace the stars and stripes with he confederate flag, do you?"

You must not travel much.

Wow. Tommy Parker IS becoming unhinged over the name of a football team in North Dakota.


Unhinged? Hardly- so where is your indignation over all the years that had the Romans, Mongolians or Persians invaded and conquered other lands and people? Are you equally as offended by those accounts in history? There is no difference other than that it was longer ago and didn't occur in the country you happen to live in- other than that its exactly then same. So I guess you need to upgrade to 10,000 or more wrongs don't make a right, huh? Should we go back through the annals of history and point to what other 'wrongs' we can find? Maybe then Americans will really feel the kind of guilt that you and others like you want to impose on us.

This is nothing sort of ridiculous. And if by 'slow people in the back' you're trying to slight mentally disabled people- then you are truly a pathetic excuse for a person. So. your position, if thats what you call it, is that no country should ever have invaded or attacked anyone. Or, just that it should have all magically stopped when Europeans finally came to this land. By the way if your so offended by entire peoples being systematically removed and killed what do you think about the jews being exterminated in Nazi Germany? Seems like that was more recent and lot more vicious. I live on this planet and I'm aware that there are volumes of history to be considered and thought through, not jut the myopic view that most Americans apply to the present day and the comforts they now enjoy- comforts that exist because of those who lived in a different time altogether- where your definition of wrong would have been meaningless. It is you, not I, who lives in a dream world.

I thought the unhinged comment was a little off base at first, but Tommy does seem to be well on his way with that last post.

why is this story published here? are we in North Dakota now? what a waste.

Uh, cookiejar and whoever else, with your sultry attitude, there may be a few fringe lunatics in the south that have a fleeting thought about changing the current flag to the confederate one. But that is far from the norm. Just because they have a picture of the flag or have it hanging up doesn't mean they want to change it. What, are you that naive or maybe just prejudice? I've traveled all over the world and I've encountered more ignorance and self-deprication in this country than any other. Sadly, that is the price we pay for putting self-projected 'do-gooders' in positions of authority. Maybe its you who should get out and travel some- and broaden your sense of history. I hold a viewpoint that is backed up by facts, you and the others who take what the liberal media tells you at face value are the thoughtless minions of a baseless ideology.
I'm not saying that it wasn't sad or unfortunate about what happened to the native Americans. Neither was it 'wrong' or 'right', it simply was. You ascribe your modern philosophy and ideals to a different time that didn't operate under the fundamentals we take for granted now- geez, is this too complicated for you and the 'others' who seem to have a problem with what I'm saying?

Poor Tommy Parker. He goes off on a rancid rant about liberals, saying their concern for the oppressed is merely an attempt "to gain more support/power," and then he says this:

"I hold a viewpoint that is backed up by facts." Uh-huh.

Tommy-boy says he knows a "jerk" when he sees one.

Tommy, go look in the mirror.

So, you're adroit attempt to challenge my facts goes something like this..."uh-huh". Rancid rant? No, I'm just sick of being told how I'm supposed to think by a bunch of hypocrites. Besides, I wasn't referring to the liberal power-grab premise in that part anyway- you do know how to read and incorrectly interpret what you read, right? Guess not based on what you wrote.

It is kind of a goofy, PC argument to have 100 miles south of a team that calls itself the "Redskins."

And where are all the 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts employees in this argument over abuse of Indian images? I have not heard one thing from them. And how about that reference to "Fighting Irish?" And the fact that people still cavalierly call police vans "Paddy Wagons," which is a stereotype of the drunken Irish of the old big northeastern cities.

Kirsten, please do not use a student's history books as reference. Haven't we learned the silliness that is in those texts by now? Civilizations have finite life spans; the U.S. is no different. Do you really think racial relations are that good today? If "All in the Family" were to air today, it would never be approved for television because we are too scared of our own shadows; pabulum pukers like Sharpton and that NAACP guy who is so revered at UVa would cry in indignation.

Empires will always be built by one group taking another group's assets in one method or another. That is the way it is. Anyone who thinks otherwise must own one of those Subaru cars with 40 bumper stickers on the back.

Frank Zappa said it best when asked if he thought his sexually descriptive lyrics would impact people to behave a certain way. He replied: "Sir, more songs have been written about love than any other topic. Do you think we now live in a more loving world?"

Love, kisses and candlelabras,

Kirstin: The NPR piece is about South Dakota, not North Dakota.

"And where are all the 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts employees in this argument over abuse of Indian images? I have not heard one thing from them."


Wasn't the entire state named after the dakota indians?

I would imagine if I were a souix I would be more offended that I was run off my land and then they named it after my people than I would be that an entire University thought so much of my ancestors heroic fighting ability that they chose it to represent their sports teams.

I would also imagine that as we stop referencing indians as part of american history the sooner it will be forgotten. 20 years from now the students will simply look at indians as poor helpless victims of white aggression who were slaughtered wholesale instead of gallant wonderful strong fighters who were simply overwhelmed by a much larger (but hardly superior) fighting force. I would prefer to remember them as the fearless (but not aggressive) fighters I learned them to be when I was a kid and was happy to play the "indian" in our war games. I was also proud to dress as an indian on halloween.

(sorry for the use of the word "indian" I hope it doesn't offend anybody... native american just sounds ridiculous since they were not native to america, they were native to whatever THEY called the area that they lived in. ) Besides indian in the context of pre liberal history gave the impression of a proud people, Native american sounds like a bunch of whiners demanding that we stop calling them names or their feelings will be hurt. (which I just don't believe)

Tommy's right. These things have happened throughout history and they are neither right nor wrong, they simply are. For instance, the Germans invaded Poland about 70 years ago and enslaved and massacred her people. If the Germans today wanted to have a team called the "Fighting Poles" or "Fighting Jews", why shouldn't they? As Tommy pointed out, they are paying TRIBUTE to these brave warriors! If the Jews or Poles don't like it, TOO BAD!!

You see Tommy, it did happen here and that's why we care. The native peoples of Dakota don't like it and they are the ones lobbying for the change. THAT'S the difference. Who do you think YOU are to presume to tell them what they should and should not like? Why shouldn't they be represented in their own legislature? This is America, right? They are citizens, aren't they? Why shouldn't they be represented? Are you so offended by their very existence that ANY legislative victory by them causes you to be outraged?

If UVA decided to have a football team called the Confederate Cannon Fodder Losers, would you be so quick to be offended when a bunch of white southerners took offense and lobbied the Virginia legislature to have the team name changed?

What is wrong with you? How dare you presume to tell these people how to live or what to think?

How about the UND "cheap folding suitcases"?

Disappointing to see North Dakota change its mascot. It's really too bad that all people do is focus on the little things in life instead of what is really important. So, now that we are changing mascot names does that mean their gonna get their land back too? Where is this gonna stop? I never thought paying attention to the wrong level of detail would be so mainstream. Boy are we raising a bunch sissies in the next generation. Glad I will be dead to not see what life will be like in a hundred years....... It will never in Big Ten country, so strong arm the small schools, like UND and Miami of OH...

The people that are decrying the change of this mascot are saying "why should we pay attention to this! It's not important!"

And yet that is exactly what THEY are doing. If it doesn't matter, why does it matter so much?

They are complete hypocrites.

With all these so called 'do-gooders' claiming that college and professional sports team's logo are degrading to Native Americans and need to be changed to something less offensive, has any one bothered to ask a Native American? As one with native heritage (Lakota Sioux), hasn't enough been done to the Indians in the past besides removing the last vestiges of their identities? They were marched across a continent (The Trail of Tears), slaughtered for no reason when the defended their ways of life, just to name a few, and what's next? Changing the names of cities, townships, counties and states that have Native American names that may offend a native American? Perhaps so. Milwaukee could be renamed "Old Beertown", Peoria renamed "Pee-moria", Oklahoma (city, county and state) could be renamed "Ten Gallon Hat Heaven", Indiana could be called "What's a Hoosier", Massanutten Ski Resort called "Redneck Ridge Slopes", Ohio called "Lose a job-o", Mississippi just called "Mizz" (rhymes with sloe gin fizz) and the Dakotas called "North and South Much-a-nottha". And now the big question. Why have all of the bleeding hearts suddenly developed an interest in how a Native American feels about his or her image? It was ruined a long time ago by those still trying to help them!

Okay, I may be a little late to the party, but I'm also Native American (Miami). I'm also attending Miami of Ohio, and I'd like to point out that while I don't think the "Fighting Sioux" is an offensive mascot name, I do feel that other teams and images are. Particularly the Redskins (as in Washington and my own college's (previous) mascot) and the Cleveland Indians. I dislike the Redskins because, regardless of the name referring to scalps or to the "reddish tinge (in several tribal contexts actually a full-body dye or paint)" of Native skin, it's still referring to it in a derogatory way. And the Cleveland Indians? Have you seen that ugly lil SOB "Wahoo"? "WAHOO"? That has to be self-explanatory. That team is completely immune to the "honoring them" defense just by using that image that looks like it stepped out of an old Warner Bros. cartoon. Sorry, Cleveland.

No, ND should not change the name. Take a strange turn from the last paragraph? It'll line up again shortly. That money should help those Native Americans still around and suffering in the reservations. That name really isn't the big problem, nor do I think it's really a part of it. "Fighting Sioux?" Not offensive to me. "Braves," "Chiefs," "Akimas (Miami word for chief which I particularly favor as a candidate for a sports team name)" are all not offensive to me.

The Native stereotypes portrayed by headdresses, tomahawks, and warpaints on hyped-up young men that run around war-whooping after a touchdown is offensive, but not the name itself. If you dress up your "mascot" (I dislike that term as well) in a way at least partially accurate to a Sioux Native at the time in history you've pulled him from, fine. But a Pan-Native stereotype perpetuates the idea that all Natives were like that. Did all Europeans run tattooed and nude into battle? No. Did some? Yes. You don't see any Vikings streaking across the field with a handax and tribal markings, despite them being close relatives of the Saxon/Germanic berserkers I was referencing with the tattooed nudist point. Why? They're not the same. I'm pretty sure the Pan-Native stereotype came from the Plains Natives in general, though I can't honestly pinpoint where. Don't call a group the Sioux, or the Apache, or the Seminoles, or whichever tribal affiliation you want to run with, and then slap a Pan-Native image on them and pretend you're honoring them. That's half-assed work, to put it bluntly. Go for accuracy, not ease of use. At least ask a Native historian what the customs of the particular tribe were. Chances are they don't line up with what you've thought.

And Tommy, the difference between the people conquered by the Mongols, Romans, etc., is that most of those people, if not all, were assimilated into the empire conquering them. Many Native Nations still maintain (or fight for) their right to sovereignty from the American government. Do we live outside of the law, free of taxes from the federal gov't and its agencies if this happens or is the case? No. But we do have the right to govern ourselves, which was allowed us in many of the treaties (which were also unfair, considering the clash of mindsets, but that's another topic for another time)... In other words, most of those sets of people you referenced are no longer around. Native tribes are. You're making the argument that a living, evolving culture should "stop caring about what happened and get over it, like those dead guys over there. Are they causing a ruckus? NO! Neither should you."

... I kind of feel racist just from bringing this up, but another comment I read above spurs me to do it...

Isn't your point also like telling about a third or half of Europe to forget the Holocaust? How about you go up to a Chinese American who's familiar with WWII and tell them that "the Rape of Nanking happened a long time ago. You should just get over it." See what their particular reaction would be. In particular, walk up to someone Jewish and say either "the Exodus is over, move on," or tell them that Germany was beaten in the war, you're fine now, let's just not talk about it ever again, and have no feelings about it... Ever.

If I'm wrong, please, calmly explain why to me. I'm willing to listen, but only if you make good sense not based on the logical fallacy of tradition. Take the individual case of the Native American and, without referencing precedent on how other victimized cultures have been treated (from my sorely uneducated standpoint it seems to have hurt your argument, anyway), make a case. Or claim you don't have to and don't. You actually don't, I mean it is America...

We all have rights, but sociologically speaking, those rights come with certain obligations. I think one appropriate for free speech would be "tactful use."