North Dakota voters: University can drop Fighting Sioux name
Evan Trupp of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux tries to keep the puck in a hockey game against the Michigan on April 7, 2011.
June 13th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

North Dakota voters: University can drop Fighting Sioux name

North Dakota voters have - for now, at least - cleared the way for the University of North Dakota’s athletic teams to drop their controversial Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

North Dakotans voted 60.5% to 39.5% on Tuesday in favor of a referendum measure that essentially gives the school the power to drop the name, which it has sought to do to comply with an NCAA campaign targeting Native American nicknames.

“We are appreciative that voters took the time to listen and to understand the issues and the importance of allowing the university to move forward,” university President Robert O. Kelley said Wednesday.

But a years-long battle over the nickname might not be over, with supporters hoping to force another vote - this time calling for changing the state Constitution to mandate the name’s use - in November.

The issue stems from the NCAA's longstanding efforts to get most Native American nicknames and logos out of college athletics. In 2005, the NCAA ordered almost 20 schools whose nicknames and mascots it deemed "abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin" to either get Native American permission to use their names and likenesses or come up with new ones.

The NCAA said that schools continuing to use such nicknames without permission would, among other things, be prohibited from hosting NCAA championship events.


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Filed under: Native Americans • North Dakota • Sports
Overheard on Native American team mascots prove divisive
Jean-Philippe Lamoureux of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux tends goal during a game in Denver in 2008.
February 9th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Overheard on Native American team mascots prove divisive

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

There's a bit of controversy going on between the NCAA and the University of North Dakota over the school's mascot, the Fighting Sioux. Readers had strong responses to CNN's story.

School will continue using Fighting Sioux nickname

Many of our commenters were supportive of the name, citing the Fighting Irish as an example of another use of cultural stereotype.

bronson2010: "This is ridiculous. The political correctness that has overtaken this country astounds me. What about the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Is that offensive? Perhaps to the Irish. I'm Irish and I support North Dakota with my heart and soul, even though when you think about it, this may be considered offensive since the Irish were stereotypically known for getting drunk and fighting. Time to grow a skin people. Or did I offend you?"

This former student says the name is OK. Several commenters said the use of the name Fighting Sioux is a compliment to the Native Americans in the area.

PhiDelt: "As a former student of the University of North Dakota, I am happy they are fighting to keep this name. It is a long and storied tradition at UND, and it does honor the Sioux of that area."

A few commenters said the word "Sioux" is not an actual name for the tribe.

N8iveThought: "What people don't understand is Sioux is not a Lakota, Nakota, or Dakota word. It is French for enemy/snake. It's insulting because it's not a name we call ourselves. I'm Oglala Lakota not Oglala Sioux. There is a difference there and we natives are the only ones who know it. It's like calling every white person in the United States French or jew or whatever may have it. Also there are many tribes that were called Sioux. There are seven tribes in South Dakota alone that have been label Sioux. Which in turn are really not. We have the Cheyenne River, which consists of four bands (Itazico, O'ohenunpa, Minnecojou, and Si hasapa), Oglala, Sicungu, Yankton, Lower Brule, Sisseton Wahpeton, etc. Not to mention the tribes in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. So I think they'd have to get permission from all tribes to actually use the insulting name in question."

Some also mentioned the Minnesota Vikings. FULL POST

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Filed under: Native Americans • North Dakota • Overheard on • Sports • U.S.
Navajo Nation to swear in new leaders
January 11th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Navajo Nation to swear in new leaders

Ben Shelly will take the oath of office Tuesday in Window Rock, Arizona, to become president of the Navajo Nation.

Shelly and Vice President-elect Rex Lee Jim have been shadowed by criminal charges stemming from an investigation into alleged misuse of discretionary funds.

The two announced Monday that they had reached an agreement with prosecutors to repay about $11,000 in exchange for dropping the charges, the Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico, reported. A judge has to sign off on the agreement.

The nation's new 24-member council also will be sworn in Tuesday. The council formerly consisted of 88 members.

Organizers are expecting as many as 5,000 people to attend the swearing-in festivities, all of which will be held outdoors on a day the high is expected to be 35 degrees, the Daily Times reported.

Shelly takes over for Joe Shirley Jr., who was Navajo president for eight years. Shelly was vice president the last four years.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Native Americans • Politics • U.S.