The University of North Dakota has asked that the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo no longer be used starting January 1, 2012. The hockey team will still wear their current sweaters until February because the new ones won’t be ready until then. No word on what the new sweaters will look like (that I have seen) but the women’s new sweaters will reportedly have a circle around their interlocking ND logo. As far as men’s designs I would like to see them either go with DAKOTA in the diagonal style like the Rangers use, or perhaps just a big picture of the state in the middle of the front of the sweater. The school will go with no nickname until at least 2015 per state law. This will presumably give time for the Spirit Lake lawsuit to get resolved.
If I may drop my objectivity for a bit, many readers are probably aware that I am an alum of UND and am very proud to be a Fighting Sioux and am profoundly disappointed that the nickname is being dropped. However my disappointment in that is trumped tenfold by the angry rhetoric on both sides surrounding the debate as to whether it is a truly racist nickname/logo or not. My feeling has always been that it is not for me (or 99% of the people on the internet arguing about it), the NCAA or the legislature to decide. It should be up to the people of the Sioux tribes to vote on it and if a majority (or more appropriately probably a supermajority) say they are fine with the Sioux nickname then it should be continued. If not then it should be retired immediately. The important thing is giving the tribes (and not just the higher ups but actual every day people) a voice in this. People on the internet bloviating as to how racist this nickname like they need to protect the poor Native Americans who can’t make a decision for themselves is incredibly demeaning and has resulted in the possible retirement of a nickname that for all they know most Native Americans supported.
Again, if it goes to a vote and even 33% (or however many) of the people from the Sioux tribes say they believe the nickname is racist and shouldn’t be allowed then I will be the loudest supporter in terms of getting it retired. But I am absolutely cheering for the lawsuit (and the ballot measure for the 2012 election) because then we will finally be able to give these people something that has been stolen from them over the course of this process: a voice.
One final on ice note: the Sioux’s first series as not the Sioux will come against, of course, Minnesota.