United Tribes NewsGipp supports NCAA decision denying UND appeal
28 September 2005
BISMARCK (UTN) - The president of United Tribes Technical College believes the NCAA made the correct decision September 28 to continue restrictions on the University of North Dakota for using a Native American logo and nickname.
"I believe it was the correct ethical and moral decision," said David M. Gipp, A UND alumni and one of the leading figures in the public discussion about UND's "Fighting Sioux" nickname. "It begins to right the wrongs of history."
The NCAA staff review committee denied UND's appeal asking to be removed from the list of schools that are subject to special restrictions.
In an information release on its website, the NCAA said its position on the use of Native American mascots, names and imagery has not changed. It noted that the university "did not have the support of the three federally recognized Sioux tribes in North Dakota."
"The decision of a namesake sovereign tribe.must be respected even when others may not agree," wrote Bernard Franklin in the NCAA statement.
"This now begins to clear the road on this issue for everyone to get on with life in a positive way in the 21st Century," said Gipp.
Gipp said the opportunity is presented for UND, the North Dakota Board of Higher Education and the North Dakota University System to reconsider earlier decisions to keep the Indian image and nickname.
A resolution passed September 8 during the United Tribes Intertribal Council Summit meeting by representatives of all five North Dakota tribes emphasized the need for consultation and negotiation with tribes about how to change to a nickname that's not offensive to any ethnic group.
"Now's the time to work with the tribes to form a strategic plan for how to make that change," said Gipp. "Complying with the NCAA is the first step in a process to help UND become the premier, American Indian serving institution it claims to be. As long as this is unresolved, UND will not be supported and recognized for the value of its contributions through its American Indian programs, as it should be."
The NCAA decision allows UND to host a regional hockey championship tournament in March 2006 without altering its current contract. But the school is restricted from hosting future championships in its Ralph Englestad Arena, which is adorned with hundreds of permanent images of a Native American head in profile, the present UND logo.
"I think that was a fair compromise," said Gipp. "It gives UND a chance to make the transition. They might even look at that event in March as a time to retire the old logo and slogan."
Gipp called the NCAA action the "correct legal decision," and praised the association for carefully reviewing all of the comments submitted by tribes and tribal people. He thanked North Dakota tribal leaders and the committed leadership, staff and students at UND who expressed their views on the controversial issue.
The NCAA concluded that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe clearly oppose the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo.
Representatives of the Spirit Lake Tribe were present on September 8 and did not oppose a resolution by the United Tribes of North Dakota to support the NCAA restrictions on UND's use of the nickname and logo.
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