February 8th, 2012 at 9:54 PM ^

I struggle to understand what difference that makes.  You could substitute "Hispanic" for "Irish" in the sentence about "what the Irish experienced in America" and it would be perfectly true, and yet Speedy Gonzalez is a verboten character anymore.


February 8th, 2012 at 5:51 PM ^

The difference between Fighting Irish and Fighting Sioux is that Irish Americans (of whom I am one) are doing just fine - or at least not suffering in any way directly related to their Irishness.  I can look at the ND mascot and think it's stupid, but there is no deep-cutting wound there, b/c, hey, the Irish damn near took this country over!  In other words, the ND mascot may be "objectively" racist, but who cares?  You don't mind a caricature of yourself when you're the king.  Things are much different, though, when you've had most of your land taken, been treated like animals, and still live in disproportionate poverty as aliens in your own country. 


February 8th, 2012 at 6:23 PM ^

it's in poor taste to individualize stereotypes usually, but racism (per the definition I'm using for it at least) occurs so frequently that your question to me is incredibly ignorant.  Is it racist that most of my friends are white?  Absolutely, but I don't think it's wrong for me to have mostly white friends....


February 8th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

anti-Catholic America in the 1850-1900 was a very "No Irish Need Apply" society

as for 20th century America and beyond... it was only after years of assimilation with an influx of Irish infultrating government jobs with organized voting blocks and formations of the first highly organized urban police and fire departments... they made things change.  Some of our grandparents' amazement and glee with the election of President Kennedy (some moreso because he was Catholic than because he was Irish) is an example of how far the Irish came in 100 years.

Obviously, the Native Americans never had the large numbers in one populized region to protect and defend themselves, and then create such change.  

But to address the main point.... Notre Dame is a Catholic University that carefully chose its name to attract Irish-Catholics to its school.  I doubt the Redskins, Indians, or even Chiefs picked the name so the local native-Americans would eagarly buy tickets and feel welcomed

I just wish they chose Fighting Catholics as a nickname and left my Irish out of it.  It's a bit embarrassing for my people to be mentioned in the same sentence with such a school.



February 8th, 2012 at 7:40 PM ^

I agree with just about everything you said. I also like to point out when the "what about ND?" argument gets made during discussions of Native mascots (which I find mind-bogglingly ignorant/dumb), that if a university in England opened many years ago (or just about any other time) and called themselves the Fighting Irish and had a crazed drunken leprechan mascot, the Irish (as in people from Ireland) would be *pisssed*. The difference between ND and North Dakota/Illinois is profound and significant. Apples to Oranges, my Maize and Blue friends.


February 8th, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

I think people don't like having their image used without their consent, especially when the users of the image have a history with said people that isn't so nice. 

It's sort of like this:  If I beat the hell out of my neighbor, Bob, and then make a bunch of tee shirts with a cartoon Bob on them and call my softball team the Bobs, all without Bob's permission, Bob is probably going to not like it. 


February 9th, 2012 at 9:00 AM ^

You may not have, but the Irish Catholic preists who run the joint and the irish catholic students that go there are all fine with it.   Now, all you have to do is find a bunch of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota administrators and Students at North Dakota that feel the same way and your argument is solid.  Good luck to you sir. 


February 8th, 2012 at 6:43 PM ^

*finishes Smithwicks*

*breaks bottle over BiSB's head*

I always loved my grandmother screaming "F the Irish" in her Irish accent (she was from Ireland) at our tailgates.  The look of confusion on the Domers faces was something to behold.  



February 8th, 2012 at 5:12 PM ^

I would lke to file a grievance against Notre Dame, for making the Irish look like men with short tempers who when they scream their face gets bright red, who drink a lot, and constantly let their kids down. 

Big Brown Jug

February 8th, 2012 at 5:20 PM ^

The NCAA's requirements for keeping the name were simple and unwavering: get the endorsement of the two dominant local Souix tribes.  The had three years, got it from one, didn't from the other.  


If they want to keep the name they need to work with the remaining tribe, not rattle political sabres.  


February 8th, 2012 at 5:50 PM ^

What does the Great Sioux Nation (the real one, not some made-up name for the fanbase) have to say about this?  With FSU, the Seminole tribe reportedly gave their official blessing and sanctioning of having their name used, and even saw it as a point of pride.  

So, if the Lakota poster sees this as racist, my question would be, "do your tribe elders see it as racist?"  The next quesiton would be, "How do the Dakota tribes feel?"  

The bottom line is that this should be decided by Native Americans as opposed to being decided by Caucasians.  After all, it is their heritage that is being used as a mascot.


February 8th, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

The term "Sioux" itself is racist since it doesn't refer to an actual people. It was a slang term used by my tribe (Chippewa) when describing the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota people. The term basically means enemy.


February 8th, 2012 at 6:24 PM ^

Still that can miss the point. I was researching the Redskins' name, and why they haven't changed it and came across this on wiki:



Notwithstanding the protests of activists, a 2002 poll commissioned by Sports Illustrated found that 75% of those Native Americans surveyed had no objection to the Redskins name.[53] The results of the poll have been criticized by Native American activists due to Sports Illustrated's refusal to provide polling information (i.e. how participants were recruited and contacted, if they were concentrated in one region, if one ethnic group is over represented and the exact wording and order of questions).[54][55] But in 2004, a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania essentially confirmed the prior poll's findings, concluding that 91% of the American Indians surveyed in the 48 states on the mainland USA found the name acceptable and setting out in detail the exact wording of the questions

So, to me the question is: how many have to be offended before it should really be an issue? One? More than 50%? Personally, I think many mascots could be viewed as negative representatives of some group, and in response too many people are too sensitive. As I'm sure many know, the Cleveland Indians are one of the only teams named specifically to honor an Indian from the outset. While the chief may be over the top (read insensitive) I wish someone would think well enough of me to name a sports team in my honor, even if it is in character form. But what do I know; I'm just a dumb WASP, and maybe don't have enough empathy.


February 8th, 2012 at 6:27 PM ^

It's a shortcut to talk about what any given tribe or group thinks, because it's really unlikely that the whole tribe/group agrees.  IMO, you can't measure it just by a vote.  That assumes that all offensiveness is equal.  It seems with Redskins that you a large majority who don't care but some who care quite a bit.  The fact that a decent amount of people find the name very disrespectful means something to me, but your question raises the interesting follow-up question of just how many people would have to see things that way for me (or anyone else) to care...I think part of my sympathy for people who don't like Redskins is that it makes sense to me why they don't like Redskins.  In contrast, I can't imagine seeing things the same way if some said they were offended by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  That would seem absurd. 


February 8th, 2012 at 6:37 PM ^

I'm glad you picked up on my main question. I wasn't sure i rasied it well enough.

In reply to your question and example I'll offer this:

What if instead of Buccaneers we substituted West Virginia's mascot. I have family heritage out of WV and can tell you they don't all wear coon skin caps and overalls. Why do you sympathizes with those who don't like the Redskin name? Is it because of history, political correctness or actual empathy? Any of those reason might be valid, but why the difference?

Note: I don't disagree with you at all, but I know why I think that way. I was wondering if others felt the same.


February 8th, 2012 at 6:45 PM ^

First, the bad (to say the least) treatment of American Indians in U.S. history causes me to sympathize with people who don't like "Redskins."  I realize that life hasn't been - and isn't - alwasy easy in WV, but it's not smallpox blanket bad, if you will. 

The second is that I've known a decent amount of American Indians, specifically Lakota from the Pine Ridge reservation, and they were vehement about not liking things like "Redskins."  Having known them probably makes me sympathize more than anything.


February 8th, 2012 at 7:04 PM ^

There is a BIG difference bwetween "Seminole", which honors a tribe with their agreement, and "Redskin" which is a dishonorable racist term that smears an entire race.

I live in the DC area.  It is a very politically correct area that can get on your nerves.  99% of the time the political correctness is really just to further the personal gains of an individual or small group, hiding behind the misery of others to do it.  I have little patience for political correctness.

But man, I gotta draw the line at Redskins. There is nothing redeeming about it at all. 



February 9th, 2012 at 9:37 AM ^

Back in a less enlightened time, when I was unaware of the existence of an "emgoblog", I had to make do with one "gregg easterbrook" for erudite football conversation.  

(i know, i know, it was a dark time. but lo, the darkness is ended.)

anyway, I always thought the best thing he ever came up with was to start referring to that football team as "The Potomac River Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons".

(yeah, there wasn't much competition, it's true.)


February 8th, 2012 at 6:46 PM ^

This is really complicated, for two main reasons that have to do with the different groups that count as "Sioux" for the purposes of the NCAA.

To understand how complicated this is, you have to know that "Sioux" is an Anglo-Ojibway-European amalgamation of three different linguistic groups of Indian people who lived west of the Great Lakes by the 17th century (many of them pushed west by the Iriquois expansion). 

1. One of these language groups, the Santee Sioux, actually lived initially in the southeast, migrating northwest to escape what the historian Richard White has called the "shatter zone" of disease and warfare that accompanied European arrival. They ended up, at the time of treaty making, in western Minnesota/eastern Dakota territory.The Santee Sioux, however, have historically had little in common, other than most people's assumption that they are the same people, with the more western linguistic groups, the Lakota and Yankton. They never abandoned agriculture and took to full nomadism in the same way that Lakota Sioux did (this only in the late 18th, early 19th centuries as horses become hugely available because of an intercontinental horse trade with the Comanche Empire in the southern plains), they lived mainly in villages in river bottoms, and didn't have the same history of extended armed resistance that the Lakota did.  One of the treaties resulted in creation of the Spirit Lake Reservation, the tribal council of which has given its approval to UND to use the name. They've generally had good relations with the North Dakota legislature and have worked out tribal-state compacts to allow for gaming on the reservation and thus have an interest in maintaining them.

2. The two western language groups, the Yankton and Lakota, were conjoined by the Treaty of 1868, which made much of the Dakota Territory (N/S Dakota are both 1888 states) part of the Great Sioux Reservation. That reservation was subsequently broken apart into a bunch of smaller reservations following the Black Hills gold rush and the Dawes Act of 1887, which resulted in the transfer of just a staggering amount of Indian lands -- 90 million acres -- across the nation into the public domain (after alloting a smaller amount as private holdings of individual Indians, many of whom ended up selling that land after becoming indebted). The Standing Rock Reservation (Hunkpapa and Yankton) has portions in North and South Dakota, and  has had terrible relations particularly with North Dakota's state government, with numerous disputes over state jurisdiction on reservation land and even the borders of the reservation itself. They have consistenly refused to give permission to UND for the mascot, and I'd be shocked if they ever did.


Long story short, though, Tater's absolutely right that the NCAA has decided this is a matter for Indian governments to approve of disapprove. Given the history of the "Sioux" however, its enormously complicated who actually has the right to give approval. The NCAA has decided that UND needs permission from both groups of "Sioux" people in ND, but I do not expect Standing Rock to give permission. Well, unless North Dakota can talk South Dakota into returning the Black Hills.


February 8th, 2012 at 5:52 PM ^

that Americans of Nordic heritage have been know as the "Fighting Sioux" for millenia! They are just claiming their birthright!



They should really go for something nordic - the fighting Vikings, the Fighting Norskes, the Hammer of Thor, the Swedish Meatballs, etc...  I think we will all be intimidated fighting the hammer of Thor.


February 8th, 2012 at 7:10 PM ^

So, if the school retires the name they are breaking state law.  If they keep the name, they will face NCAA sanctions.

The NCAA sanctions schools for following the law.  Makes sense, since they don't seem to sanction schools for breaking the law.

It's a lawyer's world, we're just living in it.



February 8th, 2012 at 7:19 PM ^

Forgive me if this sounds ignorant, not meant to be. But i see casino's all over the place using indian names, land etc to make money. Whats the difference of a non profit school using this name while educating youth? I understand the difference between who named who here but find it a bit hypocritical that foul is now cried when a name is used without permission by a school. I can see if its some dbag on the side of the road selling fake native american merch under a name (vague reference i get it) but im just pointing this out. I guess my point is i dont see mansions propping up all over tribal lands from casino income but education is provided to kids using an indian name is now vilified.


February 8th, 2012 at 7:32 PM ^

Those casinos are tribal enterprises, owned and managed by tribally owned corporations and funding government services. That certainly doesn't mean they are unproblematic, or free of corruption (see Abramoff, Jack). But they are a manifestation of tribal sovereignty, of the rights of tribes as "domestic dependent nations" to manage their resources and their lands and their people as they see fit, subject only to federal regulation (states have no sovereignty over reservation lands).

For me, tribal control over Indian names and images in American sports  is the most obvious extension of this idea of sovereignty into the broader American culture. If UND, and the ND state leg, wants to make an arrangement where they provide scholarships, or help establish and fund a tribal college, or otherwise meet the interests of both tribal councils, then excellent. They've so far not done this, instead relying on political stunts and acting like the victim (continuing a long history of the ND state leg's relations with the states Indians) and therefore, they're not going to get the approval they need.