OT: North Dakota nickname change

Submitted by j-turn14 on April 9th, 2010 at 12:28 PM


All thanks to the NCAA continuing to concentrate on only the most important things, like what a few middle aged white men and women need in order to feel less insensitive.

One of North Dakota's Sioux tribes supports the Fighting Sioux nickname. The other tribe does not allow itself to take a vote on anything apparently, making it quite difficult for UND to officially gain support from both tribes, which is the only way the almighty NCAA will allow them to host postseason games.



April 9th, 2010 at 1:23 PM ^

Because many Catholics in this country (especially earlier in our history) are Irish and my guess is they chose their mascot to represent the fact that they were "fighting" the other teams. Northwestern used to be the Fighting Methodists for the same reason--it's a Methodist school.

EDIT: Sorry--a little late to the party, I guess.


April 9th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

How about the Blackfaces instead of the Redskins? I think everyone can agree that "Blackfaces" would be ridiculously inappropriate and racist so why is Redskins allowed to continue?


April 9th, 2010 at 1:21 PM ^

I am not PC but of all the names of sports teams out there, that one is clearly dumb. I am disappointed that the NCAA can't take a stand on how rampant corruption at USC allows them to buy players for thier football team, but can force tiny North Dakota to change its team name, when they even have the support of the local Souix tribe.

Tim Waymen

April 9th, 2010 at 1:23 PM ^

The NCAA - saving the world from excessive celebration and Indian mascots, one mid-tier college at a time.

Is there a penalty for bringing anti-NCAA signs to games? It's stupid, since Michigan is a big player in the NCAA, but between their self-righteous crusades on Indian symbols and excessive celebration as well as basically rewarding the Freep for its unethical crucifying RR, the NCAA is Dead To Me.

And seriously, why doesn't ND have to change its name? The Fighting Irish is the most racist image in all of sports after the Washington Redskins.


April 9th, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

It could be worse, Nancy Cantor (remember her?) changed the Syracuse nickname from 'Orangemen' to just 'Orange' since it was supposedly sexist.


April 9th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

I apologize for my lack of Syracuse knowledge. I will say that Orangewomen doesn't exactly roll of the tongue. Many times I don't understand the need for schools to put "Lady" in front of the girl's team's. For instance the Georgia "Lady Bulldogs" Can't they just be the Bulldogs? Bulldogs come in both genders, I believe.


April 9th, 2010 at 6:18 PM ^

Redskins, as others have noted, is just a flat-out racist term. No tribe ever called themselves the Redskins. The Seminoles, on the other hand, were of course a real tribe. My understanding is that at one point FSU went to the Seminole nation and asked if they could use the name (or keep it - I can't remember the chronology), and they were told that they could.

As for the difference between Fighting Irish and Fighting Sioux, there may not be one if the Sioux themselves don't mind the use of the name.

A side note that may interest only me: The word "Sioux" was not self-applied originally. It meant "snakes" and was used by rival tribes. I don't see a problem, though, if the tribe has since adopted the name itself and doesn't care if others use it too.

A second side note that may interest only me: I knew a decent amount of American Indians in college (went to Kansas) and they told me to use the term "Indian." I said "Native American" when I was on campus, though, so as to not offend white people.

Blue boy johnson

April 9th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

I remember when the Piston dance team Automotion was searching for a name, someone suggested

Bill's Bitches

in honor of Bill Davidson, but that didn't go over too well.


April 9th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

The nickname issue has been kicking around for a long time. The general NCAA rule is that tribal nicknames are ok as long as the tribe's governing bodies are ok with it, as they are in the cases of Florida State and Central Michigan. The Standing Rock Sioux were opposed to the name at the time that UND built a new hockey arena with the Sioux nickname and logos plastered all over it, which was one of the conditions of a big donation that funded the arena. This caused a lot of bad blood with many of the Standing Rock (among others) who took it as an in-your-face move.

I don't see the name or logo as offensive, but I agree that it should be up to the tribes.


April 9th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

rule all. They should be able to do whatever they want to do. What a selfish position, IMHO.

I was in Lakota nation in South Dakota in 2007. I spent a week with the Lakota people. They don't call themselves "Sioux," even though you do. They are Lakota, or Dakota, etc.

Educate yourself before you make comments like these. I asked if there was a book I could read that would adequately represent their experience with the European settlers. It was recommended I read "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee."

Have a read and see if you still feel like they're being whiny and unreasonable.


April 9th, 2010 at 2:32 PM ^

I'm not doubting anything you've said about what you experienced in South Dakota, but it seems that at least two of the tribes in North Dakota do, in fact, refer to themselves as "Sioux" Maybe the Lakota/Dokota vs. Sioux is a South Dakota issue? Not sure, just wondering aloud.


April 9th, 2010 at 2:42 PM ^


The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on Siouan dialect and subculture:

* Isáŋyathi or Isáŋathi ("Knife," originating from the name of a lake in present-day Minnesota): residing in the extreme east of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and northern Iowa, and are often referred to as the Santee or Eastern Dakota.

* Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ and Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna ("Village-at-the-end" and "little village-at-the-end"): residing in the Minnesota River area, they are considered to be the middle Sioux, and are often referred to as the Yankton and the Yanktonai, or, collectively, as the Wičhíyena (endonym) or the Western Dakota (and have been erroneously classified as “Nakota”[3]) .

* Thítȟuŋwaŋ or Teton (uncertain, perhaps "Dwellers on the Prairie"; this name is archaic among the natives who prefer to call themselves Lakȟóta[4]): the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture, are often referred to as the Lakota.

Looks like the origin of the term is French, not their own. It's a term applied to them by someone else. I suppose that they may have adopted it; or not.


April 9th, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

The spelling of Sioux comes from French (as do many other Midwestern names), but it's not a French word. It's a name of indigenous origin.

OTOH, the Nez Percé and Gros Ventre tribal names are indeed French (for "Pierced Nose" and "Big Belly").


April 9th, 2010 at 3:03 PM ^

Yes, it is. Thanks for the correction.

It's still a term that was applied by outsiders, though. And one wonders why the French Canadians called them something that means "snake." And why the Americans followed suit.

Scroll down to Names.

After all, dehumanising people has been an instrumental component of war and other oppressive movements forever. They were also called savages, even though they were nothing of the sort.


April 9th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

It's not likely that this was done as a deliberate attempt at dehumanization. The French mainly viewed the Midwest as a region for trade, not necessarily settlement, and established good relations with most tribes. Most likely, the explorer who wrote down the name "Sioux" happened to hear it uttered by someone and did not know its meaning at the time.


April 9th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

...has anyone mentioned the "Irish curse" yet?

For the record, I am fifty percent Irish, but I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the curse.


April 9th, 2010 at 3:05 PM ^

I can say that that this PC crap has run anok. They changed the name a decade before I came to EMU, but the result on the school has been awful There is a division among alumni that wasn't there before allbecause some liberals self anointed themselves as the conscious-of our society. They really are as bad as those right wingers who do the same in terms of sexuality.

I can understand the altering of names like Redskins or the removal of offensive portrayals of Native Americans, but the use of tribes as names is hardly meant to be offensive.

If anything, they are intended as a sign of respect for those who lived in the area before the white man. If naming of a colleges sports team after a tribe is offensive, what about towns, roads, and geographic features?

That being said I don't like the use of students dressing up as indians. It strikes me as a modern version of black face. Either have actual indians do it or don't do it at all.


April 9th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

As an enrolled American Indian, it was fun to see how most of you guys feel about this. Some of you were actually quite educated about the situation. I'm glad there weren't too many of you emitting douchebaggery. I dig this blog...


April 9th, 2010 at 4:52 PM ^

like slavery and the annihilation of native americans, it's better to err on the side of caution than to please a bunch of sports fans or cater to a university's traditions

with that said, there is a fine line between what is embracing a region's history (fighting illini, sioux, etc) and bastardizing a once proud culture (miami/washington redskins, etc)


April 9th, 2010 at 4:57 PM ^

While I dont care at all about this issue, its worth noting: just because it is intended to be respectful, doesnt mean it always is respectful.

it's always worth walking a mile in somebody's else shoes, or mocassins I guess, before determining if you are really being respectful enough to anybody's needs, desires and feelings.

There are plenty of comments in this thread where such a walk has clearly been taken. And maybe a few comments where no such walk was ever really pondered.

Since I say this out of respect, I know there is no way I offended anybody in this thread. amirite?!?!


April 9th, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

As a man of German-Irish descent, I take great umbrage to Notre Dame's nickname and demand that they change it, it is offensive and derogatory to us Mics. lol