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ND Tribes pass resolution against UND nickname
9 September 2005

BISMARCK (UTN) - Representatives of all of North Dakota's tribal nations have approved a resolution supporting the NCAA action against the University of North Dakota and asking that the "Fighting Sioux" nickname be changed. The United Tribes of North Dakota Board of Directors took the action September 8 here at the close of a three-day intertribal council summit meeting.

      The resolution supports a recent action by the NCAA banning UND and other colleges from using "hostile and abusive" nicknames, logos and mascots in NCAA tournaments. It calls on the NCAA to deny an appeal by UND seeking an exemption from the new policy.

UND T-shirts
Participants at the United Tribes Intertribal Summit Meeting look at T-shirts associated with UND athletics that carry degrading images of American Indians.

      United Tribes of North Dakota is made up of the five tribes located wholly, or in part, in North Dakota: Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

      The resolution called on the North Dakota Board of Higher Education and the president of UND to hold formal consultations and negotiations with North Dakota tribes about the logo and nickname and consider how to change them to ones not offensive to any ethnic group.

      "A poll by one of the major daily newspapers showed most Indian people think UND should change the name if tribes request it," said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. "That's what tribes have been doing for a long time. UND and the Board of Higher Education haven't been listening."

      A talk during the summit by UND President Charles Kupchella failed to convince tribal leaders that the university has ensured respectful use of the name and logo.

      Summit participants saw copies of hate letters directed toward Indian students, images of the UND logo and nickname that promote drinking, and T-shirts used at sporting events that carried degrading images and slogans of Indians.

      The board's resolution said the continued use of the "Sioux" nickname promotes an atmosphere of hostility on the campus that has resulted in numerous ugly incidents, including beatings, vandalism, death threats and other incidents directed toward American Indian students and others who advocate for changing the name.

      The resolution urged that steps be taken to reduce racial tensions on the UND campus and make people accountable for actions against Native American students.

      The text of the resolution is below:

 

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