Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA North Dakota voters yesterday sent the University of North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" mascot packing to avoid sanctions by the NCAA on the university.
Last of over 1200 NCAA Members
Retires its Offensive Mascot
The mascot controversy dates back five decades to the1960s and somehow the "Fighting Sioux" mascot has hung around with a strong alumni association supporting the name, until recently it saw the handwriting on the wall. They realized the NCAA was serious about sanctions, which included the possibility that some teams would not even play against the university"s sports teams.
Back in 2005 the NCAA notified a number of Universities and colleges, including the University of North Dakota that their American Indian names and imagery were offensive and had to be changed or the schools would face sanctions.
Some schools, including the Florida State Seminoles and the Central Michigan University Chippewas avoided NCAA sanctions by gaining the support of area tribes in their states and continue to use their nicknames and imagery. The University of North Dakota was unable to gain the support of all the Sioux tribes in North Dakota and so the North Dakota Board of Higher Education agreed to change the school's nickname and imagery in 2009.
Late last year the NCAA reaffirmed its position, even after a visit to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis by the North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley.
Earlier this year, President Robert Kelley said the price tag to change the"Fighting Sioux" name and American Indian cartoon caricature would cost upwards of $750,000.
Tuesday's vote during North Dakota's primary posed the question to uphold or reject the state legislature's repeal of a state law requiring the university to use the nickname and logo. This morning Reuters news service has reported that the mascot will be no more, by 67 percent of the vote.
posted June 13, 2012 7:30 am edt