Nickname supporters at Standing Rock begin push to add UND nickname to ballot
Supporters of UND's Fighting Sioux nickname at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will be starting a petition drive today to get the issue on the ballot. Tom Iron, one of the supporters, said the group aims to have at least 600 signatures by next Wedn...
Supporters of UND's Fighting Sioux nickname at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will be starting a petition drive today to get the issue on the ballot.
Tom Iron, one of the supporters, said the group aims to have at least 600 signatures by next Wednesday. He said he's spoken with Chairman Charlie Murphy about the matter, and the chairman has promised to cooperate.
Nickname supporters have worked for months on a petition, but the apparent lack of progress had convinced many State Board of Higher Education members that it was time to retire the nickname and move on.
Under a settlement between the state and the NCAA, which considers American Indian nicknames offensive, UND has until Nov. 30 to win support of both the state's Sioux tribe or abandon the nickname. Spirit Lake tribal members had voted overwhelmingly last year to stand behind the nickname, but Standing Rock's Tribal Council had refused to allow a referendum.
Iron and other supporters hope the signatures would convince the council, about half of which is new, to put the nickname on the ballot.
The state board will meet Feb. 18, and most members have indicated they might decide to retire the nickname then so UND can apply to the Summit League athletic conference. The Summit League has said it won't consider an application until the nickname issue is settled. A lawsuit seeking to stop the board from doing that is awaiting a Supreme Court hearing in March, but board members think they won't have to wait.
Coincidentally, the board will be meeting at Lake Region State College, not far from the Spirit Lake reservation.
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